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The History and Culture of Design

Updated on December 19, 2015
The Painting is Laas Geel, Somalia, Discovered by a French team of Archaeologists in 2002
The Painting is Laas Geel, Somalia, Discovered by a French team of Archaeologists in 2002 | Source

The Birth of Design as We Know It?

Let’s go back to the cave men. Some bright spark must have become fed up of trying to catch animals and sat down to try and work out a way to get a tool to help. Or maybe they didn’t and it just happened. I can’t tell you, but way back in the Palaeolithic times, generally accredited to being the period of the cave men or the Stone Age, someone did get the club going and then worked out what a spear could do and by trial and error, they designed them for their specific purpose. Could we say that here was the start of design? I think so, because DESIGN REQUIRES VISION.

Look where we have come in the world of design, everything we use, wear, drive, live in etc. has been designed, it is vital to culture and has evolved through the millennia as we require it. Thank heavens for designers, otherwise we’d all still be running around in skins and being frustrated at not being able to catch our dinner! The worlds of design and culture have always been interlinked but sometimes design is said to be the measure of culture rather than it being a part of the cultural context in a society. Design means capturing ideas, innovating and expanding them and this has been all the way through mankind’s development.

From the cave man, came the wonderful paintings in caves, going back thousands of years in all parts of the globe actually as far back as 40.000 years. Scenes were brought to life in a primitive but very powerful way.

Both of these show the effect of design and form, beautifully. The people who painted them may have been called primitive, but there is nothing primitive in the way of their thought or the way they are executed.

So design was taking shape everywhere in the world. I am specifically going to be serializing this article, as what I am going to be writing about, has to do with our dwellings and interiors. Our brave cave men lived in caves all over the place and found that by getting a specific hearth for their family brought them closer. As they managed to have better tools for hunting and cooking, another bright spark, probably a Mrs. Cave Man, decided she was going to get the family home looking a bit nicer and collected flowers to put into a horn from an animal which her husband had killed and from this inauspicious beginning we come along, millenia later, with high tec, and innovations which are really magical.

Countries everywhere have their own designs of interiors and exteriors, I cannot write about every one of them, but a good generalization is what I hope to show. Design is wonderful, it leaves the imagination to take wings and ideas have flown into the stratosphere.

The Cave of Altamira, near Santander, Spain
The Cave of Altamira, near Santander, Spain | Source

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