An Animated History of Art and Design.

When I was in art school, there was a mandatory amount of art history classes you had to take in order to get your degree. I think I was required to take one class a semester for each year. In the end I ended up taking many more than I was required to. Some were great, and some simply sucked. The suckage was partly due to the instructor, partly to the materials, and I’m sure partly due to my lack of engagement.

All of this brings me to a great series of animated shorts from The Open University. There are six in all and they cover some of the most important sections in art and design moving from Gothic Revival to Post Modernism. The animations are short, feature a nice illustrative style, a modernist take on typography, and a great section of color pallets. All six are below.

The BBC’s “Genius of Design”.

The BBC has a new television series, “The Genius of Design” which unfortunately is not available in my cable package. If I’m lucky it might make it to PBS some time in the next 5 years, or I might be able to get via Netflix in the next 18 months. There are however a series of clips available via Vimeo right now and they are worth watching.

Episode One begins with the birth of industrial design moving from the futurism of the Bauhaus school showcasing a comprehensive division from theoretical design to consumerism. In Episode One the series explains how design was originally a monologue pushed forward by the designer, and how it has become a dialog with the user/consumer at this point. The show is really well done explaining in easy to understand language how industrial design has evolved from  a designers imposed vision to how design interacts with the world around it and the people using it.

The series features classic designs from cast-iron cooking pots to sheep shears – classic example of industrial produced objects culminating in the Model T and Henry Ford’s ideal of mass-production. The series includes interviews with legendary designer Dieter Rams and J Mays, Ford Motors’ global head of design.

Update: Sorry folks, it looks like the BBC asked Vimeo to pull these clips off of their site. It’s a shame because they were really great and show the promise of this series.

Click Here For Episode One on Vimeo

Click Here For Episode Two on Vimeo