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Icons of Progress

Good Design Is Good Business

In the last 100 years, countless IBMers have contributed to the innovations and milestones that comprise our century of progress. Below are some reflections from the great minds involved in this Icon of Progress.

In 1969, Charles Eames was interviewed by Madame L’Amic of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Their famous Q&A, excerpted here, offers an intriguing glimpse into the Eameses’ ideological framework.

Q: What is your definition of design?
A: A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.
Q: What are the boundaries of design?
A: What are the boundaries of problems?
Q: Does the creation of design admit constraint?
A: Design depends largely on constraints.
Q: What constraints?
A: The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible (and) his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints—the constraints of price, size, strength, balance, surface, time, etc.; each problem has its own peculiar list.
Q: To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number (the masses)? The specialists…the enlightened amateur…a privileged social class?
A: To the need.