Design | Pushing the Wave

Design as Applied to Arts and Crafts

FR Smith, FRSA

Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd, 1931

Vintage Books #1
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Design Front Cover
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Design Plates
Design Page 1
“Design, as a subject, can be described under two headings: (1) Structural, and (2) Ornamental. Although this division forms a very convenient method of dealing with the subject, it must not be thought that it creates a separate existence. Structural design deals with the form, proportion, and utility of the object, producing beauty in the first two and fitness in the last. Ornament is that which, if added to an object of utility, while strictly preserving its shape and character, makes that object more acceptable by bestowing upon it an amount of beauty it wiould not otherwise possess. Practically speaking, ornament can have no independent existence: it should be part of and always emphasize the forms and limits of the object it decorates.

Decoration is not always ornament. Direct copies of natural objects that do not emphasize and harmonize with the forms and limits of the decorated surface may be called decoration, but cannot under any circumstances be termed ornament. Such a pattern, before it can become ornament, must be designed or arranged and fitted for the purpose which it has to fulfil. In so ordering it is necessary that it shall, in common with everything else, obey the laws which are found in and which govern Nature. Design is therefore law and order.”
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Design | Pushing the Wave