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date: 19 February 2020

Industrial designlocked

  • Pat Kirkham
  •  and Anne Blecksmith


Design process applied to goods produced, usually by machine, by a system of Mass production based on the division of labour. The terms ‘industrial design’ and ‘industrial designer’ were first coined in the 1920s in the USA to describe those specialist designers who worked on what became known as product design. The history of industrial design is usually taken to start with the industrialization of Western Europe, in particular with the Industrial Revolution that began in Britain in the second half of the 18th century. The main focus of attention then moved to the USA and Germany when they industrialized and, in the second half of the 19th century, began to challenge Britain’s supremacy as ‘the workshop of the world’. After World War II, Italy, the former Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan each challenged the USA for world supremacy in industrial design.

In the period before 1850 Britain became established as ‘the workshop of the world’, exporting manufactured goods to a host of other nations. There was a gradual separation in most areas of manufacture between design, entrepreneurial activities, and the ...

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