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Designing things: a critical introduction to the culture of objects

Designing things: a critical introduction to the culture of objects

Boradkar, Prasad

When and why did the turntable morph from music machine to musical instrument? Why have mobile phones evolved changeable skins? How did hip-hop videos inspire an edgy new look for the Cadillac? The answers to such questions illustrate this provocative book

Paperback, Hardback, Book. English.
Published Oxford: Berg, 2010
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – Three available in Art Collection 745.201/BOR

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00263874 Art Collection 745.201/BOR Standard Available
    00263879 Art Collection 745.201/BOR Standard Available
    00263864 Art Collection 745.201/BOR Standard Available


Statement of responsibility: Prasad Boradkar
ISBN: 1845204263, 1845204271, 9781845204266, 9781845204273
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: ix, 326 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Subject: Philosophy; Industrial design Social aspects.; Consumer goods; Industrial design; Art and Design.; Consumer goods Psychological aspects.; Industrial design Philosophy.


  1. Introduction1. Theorizing Things
  2. Disciplinary Diversity in Thinking about Objects2. Valued Possessions
  3. What are Things Worth?3. Making Things
  4. Labor in Production 4. Producing Things
  5. A History of Systems of Manufacture5. Beautiful Things
  6. The Aesthetics of Surfaces6. The Greed Imperative
  7. User Needs in Product Design7. Planned Obsolescence
  8. Unsustainable Consumption8. Objects as Signs
  9. What do Things Mean?9. The Obsession of Possession
  10. Fetish ObjectsConclusionBibliographyIndex

Author note

Prasad Boradkaris Associate Professor of Industrial Design and Director of InnovationSpace at Arizona State University.


A must read for those interested in the world of things. It explains complicated theoretical texts in ways that will delight readers.
David Brody, Parsons The New School for Design||A lucid introduction to many of the theoretical perspectives that exist around objects and their design. For students it provides a deep understanding of the social meanings of design in both its production and consumption and the ethical issues that these raise.
Guy Julier, Leeds Metropolitan University||Provides the reader with a map of the rapidly changing field of design studies.
New Design (2010)||Of much use to designers struggling to identify any critical basis with which to begin reflecting upon their own practice.
John Vines, Leonardo On-Line||In addition to a thought-provoking examination of the role of designers in the design and production process, the book delves into the cultural meaning of our most familiar and iconic objects.
Culture||A highly accessible introduction to an overwhelmingly complex topic … Boradkar's multidisciplinary approach is well crafted and rewarding, resulting in an original and critical introduction to design culture. For designers and design students, Designing Things makes a fine entry point into the broader field of design studies, while for historians and other non-designers it offers an instructive view of how the field looks from the perspective of design practice and education. At its best, the book even manages to blur the distinction.
Design and Culture