chapter  3
19 Pages

Vision and ideology in design and consumption

ByRobert Crocker

Vision and ideology in design is transformative because it reveals what might exist, and this can be influential in shaping beliefs and evoking intrinsic values in others. As someone able to engage with what the consumer might like, the designer herself became a 'meta-consumer', able to anticipate new wants or respond to existing needs. Like consumption itself, design was open to interpretation, and contestation. The older cooperative stores and organizations, which had been conceived largely as a vehicle for working class saving and security from exploitation, were joined by new consumer organizations, many prominently involving middle class women. This growth in 'political consumerism' intersected with the development of the labour movement, including unions, and agitation for female emancipation. The rise of the consumer paralleled the rise and increasing professionalization of the designer, as a critical mediator or 'cultural intermediary' in this new world of mass-production for mass-consumption.