Monday, November 19, 2007

Contemporary design & Mass Culture

Obsolescence remained a guiding principle in industrial design for the mass market, but during the 1960s many products abandoned flamboyance and playful novelty in favor of greater standardization and conformity. Products began to have less and less variety between them, but they came in different colors and available accessories offered the variety that the original product lacked. As a result, the industrial designer wasn’t much needed anymore in terms of styling and invention.
Technology was a big motivation behind many of the new products that were aimed at increasing and satisfying the wants and needs of the mainstream mass market. Formica was manufactured in an increasing number of colors and patterns suitable to every taste, including simulated natural and traditional materials.
The major influence at this time was the changing culture. For example, advertising for many products almost exclusively featured women either marveling over the products or playing hostess. What changed was the REJECTION of traditional role models in the 1960s, which lead to the women’s liberation movement. During the 1960s women debated and protested sexual discrimination and sought alterations to the gender stereotypes socialized through education and the media. But this wasn’t the only change in traditions going on. There was also an increasingly diversified youth culture was being joined by other secondary groups of the 1960s, such as “racial minorities, women and homosexuals,” each with a strong desire for recognition. Rebellions, strikes, and student protests during this time ranged from skirt-lengths and marijuana –use to abortion, the death penalty, and freedom of speech, racial discrimination, the voting age and the U.S. participation in the Vietnam War
With all of this change from old to new traditions happening and all the controversy arising, producers wanted to make sure they were appealing to a wide variety of the demographic, which at this time was a majority of youth. What do you think had the most impact on design during this period? Why? Why was it a big deal?

This blog is intended for the interior design students in the college of design at the University of Kentucky. It was created with the intent to present students with information, providing them with a channel for contemplation and discussion.