The State Of Design History Today
The history of design history as we have seen is marked by an intense and productive debate about whose interests it should serve and what should be the objects of its enquiry. As a new mode of history it is alive with the questioning and competing concerns of different interest groups who are nevertheless united in their struggle to come to terms with the multiplicity of meanings and practices associated with the concept of design. By reviewing the past through the lens of contemporary concerns, design historians are building intellectual understanding of the significance of design within the history of how the world as we know it has come into being. As they are revealing, design can no longer be defined
simply in terms of the designer, the object, technology and manufacturing. Rather it comprises a complex and changing dynamic that on the grand scale pertains to economic, social and cultural production and consumption, and on the micro level to the collaborative practices of designers and ordinary people in the construction of everyday meaning. Central to this is an understanding the role of design within the shaping of the human consciousness and materiality of everyday life: with how the world is continuously being made modern. design history is casting light on the dilemmas and debates facing the design profession and education as the global process of modernization enters its fourth stage, in the process changing the global order of production and consumption and with this the nature of design as a significant global profession and cultural practice.