The restyling of consumer goods
During the 1930s styling, product design, graphic design and architecture came together in the form of fair design. On the fairgrounds the role of the designer expanded and defined itself. Designers situated themselves in a nobrow territory, claiming to have expertise on the sensibilities of consumers fair designers promoted lowbrow tastes as much as they did the values of high art. Designers also ventured into a territory closer to marketing than traditional graphic design. Data was collected on attendance counts, how people interacted in certain spaces, lengths of visits, etc.. Walter Dorwin Teague is important in his conceptual approach, determining what message the client should deliver and how. Instead of straightforwardly representing what a company does Teague simplified and streamlined the message, perhaps to the point of being simplistic. The end result was an exuberant romanticizing of the manufacturing process: technological development = utopia. What is perhaps more important is the way in which fair designers realized the potential for designing an experience. By using lighting, pacing, color, perspective, and technology spaces could essentially be coded or scripted to influence the way in which a consumer behaves.
From 1928 to 1933 Kodak made several colored and deco-styled cameras that were designed to appeal specifically to the style-conscious women of the twenties. In 1928 Kodak hired Walter Dorwin Teague, a well-known American industrial designer to create cameras with a classier, more elegant look. He first created the Series III Vest Pocket Vanity Kodak, a metal and embossed leather camera that came in five colors: Bluebird (deep blue), Cockatoo (green), Sea Gull (gray), Redbreast (red), and Jenny Wren (brown). To keep the women of the twenties looking their cosmopolitan best while snapping pictures, Teague next designed the Vanity Kodak Ensemble outfit, which included a color-coordinated camera, lipstick holder, compact, mirror and change purse in a fitted case. Similar models included the more common Ensemble, and the very rare Coquette. The most popular Kodak cameras of the twenties and thirties were designed for the entire family. Brownies came in six bright, fun colors. The Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Camp Fire Girls’ Kodak cameras were each manufactured with scout logos imprinted on the body and cases. The Scout models were Model B Vest Pocket Kodak’s like the Petites. The Petite model also came in five colors, and special versions were made with deco metal and enamel face plates, one with a step pattern, a lightning bolt pattern and a diamond door pattern. The most spectacular of all the box cameras was again designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, the Beau Brownie. The Beau Brownie was made in two sizes and came in five colors with a modern deco two-tone pattern on the face and box. During the Christmas season of 1930 a Gift Kodak was offered, in a cedar wood presentation box with matching deco design. The finest of all the Teague designed cameras was the Kodak Bantam Special, a master- piece of art-deco styling.