Category Archives: 03. FORM TRENDS

Form is the basic volumetric shape of an object. It is easiest to capture an object’s form by reducing it to familiar primitives: a computer mouse is a flattened teardrop shape, a smart-phone is a rectangular shape, a train is an extruded shape. Through the course of 20th century industrial design, a myriad of forms have been explored in every product category: form has become the low-hanging fruit for creating new design expressions. This has lead to the frequent misnomer of designers as “form-givers”, as if form was the only lever designers had to pull. Instead, modern form explorations have polarized into new methods to create a form, from bent planar sheets, to solid monolithic masses, to spindly wire-form structures.


With the misinterpretation of designers as “form-givers” yielding highly complicated, over-styled forms, several aesthetic themes have emerged to bring restraint and confidence to this over-worked design element. One of the most interesting to emerge has been Monolithic Forms. This stylistic mode involves an interplay of key elements: minimalism, massiveness, and...

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The idea of bending planar materials into three-dimensional forms has been around for decades, primarily through the Eames’ work in the furniture category. The technique is extremely simple: take a material that lends itself to bending or forming, and use that simple process to define and enclose a form. In...

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Vacuum forming has long been a favorite design medium: there is an element of mystery as the inner object pushes through a plane of material, resulting in an interplay between the underlying form and the overlying plane. Typically this production method has been reserved for large, simple plastic enclosures such...

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