30 Influential Product Designers


After understanding history of visual art, let us take a look at history of applied art which subsequently known as design. The term design has undeniably wide meaning. Therefore, in this post, I narrowed it down into product design. As a matter of fact, unlike art, the history of design does not record abundant prominent designers or distinctive design movements. In such way, I take historic approach based on influential designers around the world who live in different era.

The most defining feature of these designers is their versatility. Besides their exquisite creations as product designers, half of them also excel as architects and interior designers, while some of them are excellent painters, sculptors, or craftsmen. Their common root from architecture explains why the majority of their products revolve around various kinds of furniture.

The first designer on this list is Frank Lloyd Wright since his works indicate the birth of modern design alongside with the Arts and Crafts movement. This movement emerged in England in the late 19th century to fortify craftsmanship and the importance of design as a response to industrialization. Even though it was initiated by John Ruskin and William Morris, correspondingly with them, Wright was a notable figure. From that time forward the development of design is immensely influenced by visual art, discovery of new materials (ie. plastic, resin, aluminium) and advancement of production processes (ie. injection molding, foam padding, chrome plating).

From this list we can see that each designer possesses his/her own signature style. For each designer, I chose three iconic design works which highly represent their signature. You can see that these designers are consistent with specific materials or forms and the philosophy within their works. Furthermore besides designing products, they are directly involved with the manufacturing process. On the other hand, to market their works, they are often collaborate with renowned firms such as Alessi, Braun, Cappellini, and Vitra. So, who is your favourite from this list?

PS. What is it with black and white portrait and designers touching their faces?

-Couturier, Elisabeth. (2010). Talk About Design. Paris: Flammarion.
-Miller, Judith. (2012). 20th Century Design.  London: Octopus Publishing Group.

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