If we look back on almost any era of the 20th Century, we can see how a single major influence affected the designs of virtually everything from that era, from toasters to passenger cars. Perhaps the most obvious era is the late 1950′s to the mid-1960′s, when the influence of the rocket age was everywhere. Cars had huge fins designed to look like a rocket’s stabilizers, furniture got long slender points resembling Sputnik… the influence was everywhere.
The same applied to the era from the mid 1920′s to the early 1930′s. The era of flight was upon us, and we thought the possibilities were endless. Cars grew swooping curves, resembling an airplane’s fuselage; even buildings showed spires and curves resembling aircraft control surfaces.
We could say the same thing about the 1980′s even… except that clearly the only influence for that era was that of huge suitcases full of cocaine.
But as future generations look back on the late-naughties, early-teens era, what are they going to say is the major influence for us? Trapped within it, it’s hard to have that external perspective, but we are blessed with the most brilliant commenters this side of YouTube in the world, so I’m sure we can figure it out. What’s the underlying design influence that’s pervading our lives?