Design History


Dieter Rams, 1932-. Audio 1 Radio-Phonograph Model No. TC 40. 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, Architecture and Design Collection.

Design Since the Industrial Revolution

Design History | Course: Lecture | Students: 60 | The Ohio State University
Design 253. Autumn Quarters 2009, 2011

The design history class at Ohio State explores various styles, movements, and philosophies from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on the cultural context and impact of technology and production on the development of design, including the influence of modernism and the rejection of modernist orthodoxies by the post-modernists. Students are introduced to the classics by important designers, artists, and architects and encouraged to understand the deep influence of design theory in their work.

Required Text:
History of Modern Design (2nd Edition) by David Raizman

The Bauhaus, 1919–1933: Art into Industry

Architects, painters, sculptors, we must all return to crafts! For there is no such thing as “professional art”. There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. By the grace of Heaven and in rare moments of inspiration which transcend the will, art may unconsciously blossom from the labour of his hand, but a base in handicrafts is essential to every artist. It is there that the original source of creativity lies.” —Walter Groupius, Bauhaus Manifesto, 1919




  • Weimar (1919–1925)
  • Dessau (1925–1932)
  • Berlin (1932–1933)

Characteristics from 1919-1923:

  • Unification of the fine arts and applied arts
  • Emphasis on the mastery of crafts through workshop instruction

Characteristics from 1923 on:

  • Simplicity of form
  • Lack of ornament
  • Reliance on modern materials, functions, and industrial processes
  • Belief in machine-age aesthetics
  • Rational design methods focusing on ease-of-use, form following function, and efficient, industrial production

Bauhaus Directors:

  • Walter Gropius (1883–1969), b. Germany. Architect. Founder of Bauhaus, Director 1919 –1928.
  • Hannes Meyer (1889–1954), b. Switzerland. Architect. Bauhaus Director 1928–1930.
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969), b.Germany. Architect. Bauhaus Director 1930–1933.

Notable Bauhaus Artists and Instructors:

  • Josef Albers (1888–1976), b. Germany. Painter. Professor at the Bauhaus.
  • Herbert Bayer (1900–1985), b. Austria. Painter, photographer, graphic designer, typographer. Director of Printing and Advertising at the Bauhaus.
  • Marianne Brandt (1893–1983), b. Germany. Sculptor, photographer, industrial designer. Head of Metal Workshop at the Bauhaus.
  • Marcel Breuer (1902–1981), b. Hungary. Furniture designer, architect. Head of Carpentry Shop at the Bauhaus.
  • Wassily Kandinsky (1866– 1944), b. Russia. Painter, theorist. Bauhaus instructor.
  • Paul Klee (1879–1940), b. Switzerland. Painter. Bauhaus instructor.
  • László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), b. Hungary. Painter, photographer. Instructor of foundation courses at Bauhaus.
  • Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900–1990), b. Germany. Industrial Designer. Student at the Bauhaus, 1923–1926.