You might associate California with things like Hollywood, botox and hydroponic weed cultivation – but it also has a rich design history. The Design Museum’s ‘California: Designing Freedom’ show tracks six decades of innovative design in the Golden State. Here’s a sneak peek of what you should expect.
Apple cursor icon
The big, friendly, pointy hand was the idea of graphic designer Susan Kare, who was also behind symbols like the trash can and smiling Mac icon. We take all this stuff for granted now, but ‘skeumorphic design’ – where computer functions are designed to resemble their real-life counterparts – was revolutionary at the time.
LSD blotter paper
Any big surprise that LSD was first synthesised in the homeland of hippiedom and counterculture? The hallucinogen was also potentially responsible for the creation of other things on this list – many of Cali’s top design innovators swore that its mind-altering properties allowed them to see the world in new and radical ways. Far out, man!
An innovation that came about when surfers wanted something to do when the Pacific’s waves were flat. In fact, in the early days, skateboarding was known as ‘sidewalk surfing’.
The Los Angeles-based social media platform’s smart-glasses first hit the market in November 2016. The two inbuilt cameras allow the wearer to post what they can see straight to their Snapchat feed – without a single button or screen tapped in the process. Although, since they retail at usually well over £100, these gizmos are perhaps a little beyond the budget/pocket money of Snapchat’s core audience.
‘We the People’, Shepard Fairey
Street artist Shepard Fairey is no stranger to creating bold and iconic works of art: he was also responsible for the Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster which was circulated during the 2008 presidential campaign. This image of an American Muslim woman, wearing the Stars and Stripes as a headscarf, was created in response to the election of another POTUS entirely.
‘California: Designing Freedom’ runs at the Design Museum until October 17. For exhibition tickets with a 40 percent discount, click here.
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