Design vs. Industrial Design (*)

Before the advent of the industrial revolution, that is the mass production, the only productive mode for the realization of objects of use, in other words of useful objects, which would serve for the everyday life, was only the “crafts”.

It was, for example, of craftsmanship specificity a whole series of products, partially manufactured in series, which were considered of aesthetic value lower than that of the "pure" arts, with their consequent categorization in "manual arts".

In other words, there has always been that distinction between arts and crafts, where the latter, typical of craftsmanship, require a manual practice like the first ones, but are mainly aimed at the manufacture of objects endowed with an intrinsic functionality.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, then, it was attempted to designate artistic (industrial art) objects that were recognized as aesthetic, even though they were produced with industrial systems.

The genesis and function of industrial design is quite different (compared to art and craftsmanship), which is born in concomitance with the appearance of the industrial revolution and refers to the production of objects (and services) mass-produced.

So the Oxford Dictionary defines the noun “Design”: “A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made. The art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made. ‘good design can help the reader understand complicated information’.

Instead, the term "Industrial Design" is so defined in the same dictionary: “The art or process of designing manufactured products”.

(*) Franco Grossi (2015), Master & Maker, ISBN 978-88-98683-00-0, pages 60-62