Beautiful users: book and exhibition


Beautiful Users: Designing for People
Edited and designed by Ellen Lupton
Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, 144 pages

In the mid-twentieth century, Henry Dreyfuss, widely considered the father of industrial design, pioneered a user-centered approach to design that focuses on studying people’s behaviors and attitudes as a key first step in developing successful products. In the intervening years, user-centered design has expanded to undertake the needs of differently abled users and global populations as well as the design of complex systems and services. Beautiful Users explores the changing relationship between designers and users and considers a range of design methodologies and practices, from user research to hacking, open source, and the maker culture.
The book accompanies the fall 2014 exhibition that reopens the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, following a three-year renovation


Beautiful Users” – a new exhibition at the Smithsonian Design Museum – tells the story of user-centered design through 120 objects. From Dreyfuss’ Honeywell thermostat—his archives are housed at the museum—to prosthetic limbs and app-enabled air conditioning units, the products chart this history of designing with respect to human anatomy and behavior, up through the open-source, maker culture we see today. “The phrase ‘designing for people’ is giving way to ‘designing with people’ as creative teams seek more egalitarian relationships with an increasingly well-informed public,” writes Lupton, in the exhibition catalog.
The exhibition runs until April 26, 2015.

[From Smithsonian Magazine]

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