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Design: A Very Short Introduction

John Heskett

Publication Date - 22 September 2005

ISBN: 9780192854469

148 pages
4-1/2 x 7 inches

In Stock

A streamlined treatement of design and its significance in our daily lives


John Heskett wants to transform the way we think about design by showing how integral it is to our daily lives, from the spoon we use to eat our breakfast cereal, and the car we drive to work in, to the medical equipment used to save lives. Design combines "need" and "desire" in the form of a practical object that can also reflect the user's identity and aspirations through its form and decoration. This concise guide to contemporary design goes beyond style and taste to look at how different cultures and individuals personalize objects. Heskett also reveals how simple objects, such as a toothpick, can have their design modified to suit the specific cultural behavior in different countries. There are also fascinating insights into how major companies such as Nokia, Ford, and Sony approach design. Finally, Heskett gives us an exciting vision of what design can offer us in the future, showing in particular how it can humanize new technology.


  • A concise guide to contemporary design that goes beyond style and taste to look at how different cultures and individuals personalize objects
  • Reveals the subliminal effect design has on our everyday life and personal identity - at home, at work, and at play
  • Includes interviews with international designers eg. Pentagram and discussion of major companies such as Sony, British Airways, Kodak, Alessi, Nokia, and Ford
  • Covers all forms of design: product, industrial, fashion, advertising, websites, graphic design

About the Author(s)

John Heskett is Chair Professior in the SChool of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Table of Contents

    1. What is Design?
    2. Utility and Symbolism
    3. Objects
    4. Communications
    5. Environments
    6. Systems
    7. Contexts
    8. Identities
    9. Futures
    Further Reading

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