Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to Basics

I've run across a couple of interesting articles in the past few days on designing during tough economic times. No question it's rough out there, but I have to say that I find it inspiring to think about design becoming more resourceful, more practical, smarter. At Design Observer, Michael Bierut weighs in with an insightful, inspiring post on designing through the recession; in Sunday's Week in Review section of the Times, Michael Cannell takes it a step further, saying design loves a depression:

The pain of layoffs notwithstanding, the design world could stand to come down a notch or two — and might actually find a new sense of relevance in the process. That was the case during the Great Depression, when an early wave of modernism flourished in the United States, partly because it efficiently addressed the middle-class need for a pared-down life without servants and other Victorian trappings.

“American designers took the Depression as a call to arms,” said Kristina Wilson, author of “Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression” and an assistant professor of art history at Clark University. “It was a chance to make good on the Modernist promise to make affordable, intelligent design for a broad audience.”
Click here for the rest of it.

UPDATE: Murray Moss completely disagrees.

Above, a 1930s Lester Beall poster for the Rural Electrification Administration.

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