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North American Design — Graphic by TEAMS inspired by “The Toy” by Ray and Charles Eames

How does culture affect the design philosophy in a place? — German vs. North American Design. (Part II)

Insights from different angles and inspiring points of view

Read part I of the article here

North American Design

North American design pushes the boundaries of what is probable in the name of what is possible. Around the same time that Rams was developing his phonograph, new technology was pushing higher fidelity music into homes, and with it, mono speakers were developed. Ray and Charles Eames designed these speakers for Stephens Trusonic in 1956. The Eames speakers are emblematic of US design philosophy.

“North American design pushes the boundaries of what is probable in the name of what is possible.”

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The Eames speakers designed for Stephens Trusonic — Image from https://collections.lacma.org/node/248290

“…The Eames’ design is clearly rooted in its era, channeling the joy and anxieties of the time into bold, playful, yet iconic choices that are still rooted in some of the authenticity and minimalism of their former Bauhaus teachers”.

So, where do those design values come from?

In the 1930’s the designers that had left Bauhaus flooded into the US where they were free to continue to develop their ideas and foundations. Several colleges gained illustrious former Bauhaus alums such as Cranbrook in Michigan, where Ray and Charles Eames graduated from. Several new institutes were founded, including the Black Mountain College in North Carolina and IIT in Chicago.

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Loewy’s Pennsylvania Railway trains & Henry Dreyfuss’s Hoover — Images: https://imgur.com/F69K5cthttps://i.pinimg.com/originals/bd/57/66/bd5766e28c71ea03d73055b179bdb47c.jpg
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Bel Geddes motor car — Image: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BelGeddesCar.jpg

“Today while there are still some regional or local preferences on design, user-centered design and the application of design thinking have gone global. We look to the brand and the needs of the end-users to shape the function and aesthetic”.

Today while there are still some regional or local preferences on design, user-centered design, and the application of design thinking have gone global. We look to the brand and the needs of the end-users to shape the function and aesthetic. We keep true to the principles of precise German engineering. We use the results of research and synthesis to be considerate to the cultural and emotional needs, imbuing personality that is needed for acceptance locally. Design does not exist in a vacuum — everyday culture shifts. People change, and we borrow from one another towards greater solutions. As designers at TEAMS, we exist as a global collective. This collaboration allows bringing multiple design philosophies to the table, for ultimately better products.

TEAMS is one of the world’s leading design agencies. TEAMS is not just a name — it’s our attitude!

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