The most famous designs of the twentieth century are not those in museums but the marketplace. The Coca-Cola bottle and McDonald’s logo are known worldwide and may tell us more about our culture than a narrowly-defined canon of classics. One of the world’s foremost design historians, Jonathan Woodham, takes a fresh look at the design and industrial culture issues throughout Europe, Scandinavia, North America, and the Far East. Drawing on the most up-to-date scholarship, he explores themes such as national identity, the “Americanization” of ideology and business methods, the rise of multinationals, Pop and Postmodernism, and contemporary ideas of nostalgia and heritage.
Woodham sets the proliferation of everyday design against the writing of critics as diverse as Nikolaus Pevsner, the champion of Modernism, and Vance Packard, author of The Hidden Persuaders. The history which emerges is seen for what it is: the powerful and complex expression of aesthetic, social, economic, political, and technological forces.