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Propaganda and its effects in 20th century product design - Essay Example

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To say that design can exist without the influences of culture, history and the arts is to say that design architecture exists in a vacuum. This is highly doubtful, as history has shown that the art, architecture and design movements have been hopelessly and inexorably intertwined. …
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Propaganda and its effects in 20th century product design
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Download file to see previous pages This is highly doubtful, as history has shown that the art, architecture and design movements have been hopelessly and inexorably intertwined. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that the historical events of the 20th century, especially wartime and political propaganda, have had a profound and lasting effect not only on design, but also on the art, architecture and other aspects that influence the major diaspora of society. The Main Contributions to Design in the 20th Century In the 20th century the countries that made the news most of all were invariably also the nations that made the most contributions to design. The early 20th century was dominated by the Modernist movement and mass production via machines. For practical purposes, the Bauhaus School in Germany (1919-33) made some major contributions to simple designs for articles of common use such as furniture that could be mass produced. Its attitude towards simplicity could be summarized by Ludwin Rohe’s assertion: ‘Less is More’. In direct contrast to it emerged the Art Deco movement of the 1920s, with its emphasis on traditional cabined-making skills and materials such as steel and bauxite, became out of the reach of the common man and was labeled ‘elitist’ as only the rich were able to afford these pieces. The two decades after the Second World War (1950-70) also called the Mid century Modern Era were dominated by influences from Scandinavia, Italy and the USA ( They sought not only to use lightweight material but also bright and vibrant colors, dispelling the drab years of the War just gone by. Organic materials such as leather, steel, vinyl and others have resulted in their widespread use and adaptability to meet the needs of almost any household furniture. Industrial strength materials may be used for sturdier applications. The Uses and Influence of Propaganda Propaganda may be defined as follows: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist” (Jowett & O’Donnell, 2006). Although the use of propaganda has been made before- primarily by kings and queens in swaying the public’s perceptions on certain issues, the 20th century saw the use of this as a weapon in the armory of many a political leader. Take Lenin and Stalin for instance. They used propaganda to overthrow Czar Nicholas of Russia and bring to fruition the Communist or Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Undoubtedly there were some historical and economic circumstances that came to their aid, but it is the skill of these leaders in manipulating these circumstances in their favor that makes propaganda such a potent weapon. Indeed, even fashion styles owe their catching on to propaganda, as they are first sold to the opinion leaders and elite of society and then orders are booked for cloth as the new fashion catches on through eyes, ears and advertisements ( Propaganda was also well used in the era of the Third Reich, with Joseph Goebbels being Hitler’s main protagonist. He used propaganda not only to make Hitler look like a Savior and the answer to all of Germany’s troubles, but also later to further the Fuhrer’s own private ideas of an Aryan society and the mass annihilation of the Jews in the Holocaust. Propaganda has had its uses in times of peace as well. For example, Hitler’s vision of a prosperous Germany after the War included that every middle class German family would be able to afford a Volkswagen- that is why advertisements of the day showed it as a family car. Similarly, propaganda has been used by the British to rally support for investing in Government Bonds to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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