TRADE AND DESIGN A plea for nationalisation of Industrial Design John Tandy puts forward his proposals. Milner Gray replies to John Gloag. Sir, There has been a great deal written in the daily press about the development of the Export Trade but little mention, if any, of the part design can and should play in retaining existing markets and securing new ones. It is only in the last few years that the more progressive manu facturers have realised the use good design can be as a sales weapon. It is imperative that we should not lose sight of this now. After the last war we found our selves, to our very great detriment, at least four years behind America and the leading neutral countries in technical development and de sign improvement. During this war these countries, who are generally recognised to be in advance in their design appreci ation, are not going to stand still and will become further in advance of us unless we properly employ our Industrial Designers. At present it is left to the initiative of enterprising firms to call in Industrial Design experts on their problems whenever they arise. This though is only playing with a very large problem. Industrial Designers should be commandeered by the authorities concerned to push forward the drive already started by the Export Council. Every product exported not only means appreciable advantages now, but also greatly strengthens our position after the war. It is the work of Industrial Designers to design and redesign products and packages to look and function better, be more economical in their use of materials, pack more easily for transport, etc., all of which greatly aids in their successful merchandising. As an instance of development, certain firms are also working on the introduction of substitute materials whereby solving the supply ques tion and often producing very appreciable economies. Some of these substitute materials replace so successfully the material now in general use that there is every reason to believe that they will be retained when the war is over. These and many other similar problems should be solved by Industrial Design experts, working through some official organisation to prevent the haphazard methods of peace time. It has been our experience that manufacturers frequently do not fully realise in what way design could help them. It is only when they have had the experience of working with Industrial Designers, who as outside authorities can often see where economies and improve ments can be achieved, that they appreciate the value of such aid. This can only come about in suffi cient magnitude to be of value if properly planned on an official basis using all the Industrial Designers who are available. We feel that publicity should be given to this question so that action can be taken along the lines suggested, and would therefore appreciate it, if you could find space for this letter in your columns. JOHN TANDY, DirectorConsultants Limited. Sir, Mr. John Gloag, in his letter on Architects and Industrial Design, raises by implication the question as to what we mean when we speak of Industrial Design and the Industrial Designer. It may then be easier to decide where and by whom he shall be trained. We might make the broad division between the Engineer Designer and the Architect De signer. But this barely fringes the questionwhat of the crafts silver, glass, pottery, textiles Mr. Gloag mentions the near- fabulous big figures in American Industrial Design. The American method has been to syndicate specialists in many fields, including engineering and architecture, and introducing the Salesman Designer. In industry, design must be right for the use to which the product is to be put, for the market to which the product is directed, at the price which will make it economic, and attuned to its time in history that is, it must be in the fashion. Mr. Gloag claims that in the Schools of Architecture, students are trained to understand materials and processes. But for how many industries are these the right materials or the right processes The engineering departments of some of the technical institutes would surely cover these aspects more suitably in relation, for in stance, to the light or heavy metal trades, or the plastic industry. Surely architecture is a branch of industrial designbeing design for the building industryrather than industrial design a branch of architecture, as seems suggested by the proposed additional quali fication for architects entitling them to practise as industrial designers. Much may be learned from the schools of architecture, but I do not feel that Mr. Gloag has made good his claim that such should be the centres of instruction. Of the two great designers he mentions, one graduated from advertising, the other from scene painting, and none, I believe, of the famous American designers started life as an architect. Architecture is the one branch of industrial design which has been well organised by its practitioners, and the Royal Institute of British Architects certainly might do well to assist in the proper organisation of training for the whole field of industrial design. The raising of the status of in dustrial design to the position of a university subject would help no doubt to raise the standard of industrial artand the affix of a Doctorate in Industrial Art as suredly would add lustre to the initials D.I.A. But considerations of improvements in the teaching of the subject to a sub-university standard, as a proper preliminary to its higher study, should not be overlooked by the advocates of a Chair of Industrial Design. In general education as well as in schools of art and architecture, the subject should be brought into line. MILNER GRAY, R.D.I. 156

Commercial Art / Art and Industry en | 1940 | | page 34