Better by design?
August 25, 2018 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I was listing to some music by VNV Nation and one of the phrases in it is "better by design" and it seemed familiar. What is its origin? I googled it but can't seem to track down where it began.
posted by verytepid to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
The 1950s TV show Omnibus (hosted by Alistair Cooke) had American Machine and Foundry as a sponsor; one of their commercials had the tagline "AMF products are better... by design." [Source: "TV by Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television," by Lynn Spigel, pub. 2008]
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:24 AM on August 25, 2018

More recent, also advertising-related: British car maker Vauxhall, in the early 1980s. "All dealers became Vauxhall-Opel with ‘Vauxhall-Opel better by design’ used as the advertising slogan at the time."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:54 AM on August 25, 2018

Presumably from Vauxhall, it's one of the advertising slogans used in the lyrics of U2's "Zooropa" as well.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:02 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

This bit by Massimo Vignelli on modernist design uses the phrase specifically:

I was raised to believe that, as a designer, I have the responsibility to improve the world around us, to make it a better place to live, to fight and oppose trivia, kitsch and all norms of subculture that are visually polluting our world. The ethics of Modernism, or I should say the ideology of Modernism, was an ideology of the fight, the ongoing battle to combat all the wrongs developed by industrialization during the last century. Modernism was and still is the search for the truth, the search for integrity, the search for cultural stimulation and enrichment of the mind. Modernism was never a style, but an attitude. This is often misunderstood by those designers who dwell on revivals of the form rather than on the content of Modernism. From the beginning, Modernism had the urgency of Utopianism: to make a world better by design.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:37 PM on August 25, 2018

« Older Changing generic birth control side effects and...   |   is it possible to be gluten-free-sensitive!? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.