Design History

DESIGN 2750: Design History

A history of design as affected by technology, science, and cultural world view.
Credit Hours

Prerequisites: Open to all students eligible to enroll undergraduate Ohio State coursework. 


Course Description

In many ways, the history of design is a history of everyday life. It is all around us, hiding in plain sight. It is not the product of a single specific process, place, or philosophical belief. That is what makes hunting for it and studying it so much fun. Because design is the result of purposeful actions, it is important to address its history in an active way. The course is structured using a combination of learning modules and writing assignments that encourage you to gather and evaluate the merit of historical data/information about past designed environments and their contents.

Because the term design can be defined very broadly (what isn’t a design?), we will direct our attention to the historical evolution of designed visual elements, objects, environments, and design ideas that have been used in the development of systems. You are encouraged to connect a broader range of interests from your own areas of expertise to the topics encountered in this course.

Learning modules in this course address designed environments and objects from a global perspective and across time, but even that will be limited topically by necessity. The course emphasizes design developments that have occurred in the past 250 years, and it focuses more attention on significant forces that have influenced the evolution of design practices in the United States, since that is where our study takes place.

Texts and Resources  

In the interest of prioritizing the affordability of this course, no textbook or materials are required for purchase. All readings, videos, and recorded presentations will be available through the course web site. Access to internet and a reliable device is necessary, however. An iPad is sufficient.

Course Organization

Fourteen course modules include at least one narrated and illustrated presentation by the professor of the course. Readings, videos, and podcasts are accompanied by introductory information and study guides. The course requires students to develop two writing assignments that synthesize their understanding of course themes and connect them to students’ personal backgrounds and interests.

Semester(s) Offered:


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