chapter  2
The impacts of technology
WithPenny Sparke
Pages 18

The process of design was a direct consequence of the division of labour, an important component of the new means of producing goods which caused the work of traditional craftsmen to be broken down into a number of new, differentiated tasks. Technological innovation made possible the manufacture of vast numbers of newly conceived products which entered the marketplace from the late nineteenth century onwards. While the inventor’s role was to create new applications for available technologies, the designer acted as the key interface between those applications, manufacturing industries and consumers. Design acted as an important bridge between technology and culture, anticipating consumer demand and making new technologies and materials both available and desirable. While technology could make new products and materials available, it could not ensure their acceptance in the marketplace. It was left to designers to gauge people’s tastes and aspirations and to transform new materials into desirable goods.