The Form of Design

Deciphering the Language of Mass-Produced Objects



ISBN: 9789063693756 Category:

Josiah Kahane


Why, in spite of widespread designers’ obsession with amazing bicycle concepts, bicycles still essentially adhere to traditional classic form? Why, in spite of countless car makes and models, the underlying car meta-form, is basically the same? On the other hand, why does our understanding of the word “chair” allow an extreme latitude of form variety? Why do kitchen appliances such as mixers and toasters, insist on retaining a specific form for each assigned function? These are some of the questions this book answers. The Form of Design is the first all-encompassing book about the visual language of man-made products. It explains how mass produced objects evolve over time and what made them change. Form evolution behaves in a similar way to language evolution and to some extent, even to natural evolution. In the book the author materializes the governing rules of form evolution by means of 14 case studies. These case studies encompass a diversity of product families such as smart phones and bicycles, coffee machines and chairs, TV screens and cooling fans, accompanied by charts and numerous illustrations that illuminate and elucidate the evolutionary processes involved. This book is not a historical review of thousands of years of evolution of man-made tools, artifacts and objects; it specifically focuses on recent, present and future trends. The accumulated cultural, cognitive science and design research knowledge is dealt with in part 1. Part 2 lay down the authors concepts of form. Then Part 3, the mainstay of the book (occupying about two thirds of the content), is devoted to the stories of the fourteen case studies.

Additional information

Weight 738 g
Dimensions 20.2 x 24.9 cm
Publisher name BIS Publishers
Publication date 1 July 2015
Number of pages 224
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 20.2 x 24.9 cm
Weight 738 g