Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Design Is Where You Find It", from Edcon Publishing.

kThe Robie House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

"The Story of Design and Designers" from Edcon Publishing

Nature is good, but mankind is not. Natural things are beautiful, but things made by people are ugly and spoil the world. This is what many people think these days.

There is some truth to these thoughts. Nothing that humans make can match the majesty and beauty of the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. We do scar the country with long stretches of concrete linking one mean city with another, and then we litter roads and cities with empty cans and waste paper. We visit national parks and other places of great natural beauty and spread our trash.

But there is another side to the picture. Not all humans insist on destroying beauty. The lives of many people involve one main idea: making the world a more pleasant place in which to live. Some of these people are the ones who work to preserve the natural world - to save the great redwood forests, to protect species of animals and birds that are disappearing from the world, and to clean our water and air.

Others are trying to make the world better by making better things. These people deal with design. They plan man-made things to appeal to our sense of beauty and fitness. We see their work everywhere.

There is the architect who designs graceful homes and towering office buildings. Many people admire only architecture of the past. They seek out gracious old homes and majestic old churches as if modern architecture were not
worth looking at. Even some architects prefer old designs and build new churches and public buildings modeled on the ones in ancient Greece and Rome. But there is also beauty in modern architecture - in shining glass and steel towers and graceful stone and brick shopping centers. There are also planned towns where every home is a designed gem, beautiful and durable enough to stand for generations.

Designers work with small items as well as with tall buildings. If you look around, you will see design everywhere in your classroom - the calendar on the wall, your pens and pencils, even in the books that you use. Doorsteps and paper clips are designed as well as churches. Your attention may be drawn to certain small designed things, such as a fine watch with a genuine gold band, or a handsome portable television set so small that you can easily carry it wherever you go.

But most design that we see we don't even notice. Did you know that design influences what we buy and how much we buy? People who run supermarkets know this. Their shelves are designed so that the packages seem to jump right into your shopping basket.

All kinds of packages involve design. In fact, some packages seem to be all design and little product! The next time you are in a supermarket or a drugstore, look at the rows and rows of household articles. Pick up a graceful bottle that looks as if it might hold a pint. The label may tell you that it holds only six ounces.

Design is more than the shape and size of the package. The writing and the bold colors on the label are also carefully designed. You can recognize many familiar products before you are close enough to read their labels. You can recognize them by the way the product's name is written or even by the bright patterns of red or blue or green. Picture in your mind the lines of cold drink cans on the shelf. Even though the cans are all the same size and shape, can't you recognize the brands without reading the labels?

You may think that the package designers are trying to help the store owners get your money. That is partly true, of course. No one could afford to run a store unless people bought goods, and no one could afford to be a designer unless people bought designs. Anyway, you are probably wise enough not to be fooled by a fancy package. You look at the price of what you are buying and read the label to see how much the package actually holds. You can admire a pretty box on the shelf without having to take it home.

You don't have to buy things that you don't need, but you can still share the designer's pleasure in the finished product. Take just one kind of package - the glass bottle. Dozens of kinds of bottles are found in stores: small bottles and large ones, squat bottles and tall ones, fat bottles and thin ones. Even when the bottles are empty, people save them. They save them as containers for coins or to build ship models inside them. They spend hours carefully making lamps from old store bottles.

We who love the land may resent the many miles of concrete highways. Still, we should notice that engineers often build with a thought for beauty. Few sights in the world can equal the soaring Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the breathtaking views along the Skyline Drive in Virginia. Good designers take nature into account. If they can make natural beauty more available, they will do it.

Almost everything we touch and see has been designed to be beautiful as well as useful. Look at our stamps and coins. Look at the portable dishwashers with genuine wooden tops and the plain but durable tables and chairs as well as at the fancy wallpapers and flowered bed sheets.

Design is everywhere. Enjoy it!

"Design Is Where You Find It" - Comprehension Check

1. Many people think that natural things are _______ .
a. made with concrete.
b. littering roads.
c. artificial and of little value.
d. more beautiful than man-made.

2. Some people who wish to make the world a more pleasant place in which to live _______ .
a. plan man-made things.
b. seek out gracious old homes.
c. prefer old designs.
d. spread trash.

3. Of all the people who deal with design, the first one mentioned in this story is _______ .
a. the highway engineer.
b. the small item designer.
c. the architect.
d. the packaging designer.

4. Good designers _______ .
a. resent the use of land for roads.
b. try to fool people with fancy packaging.
c. charge very high fees.
d. take nature into account.

5. Good package designs _______ .
a. help sell more products.
b. always fool people.
c. are planned for people who cannot read.
d. are planned by architects.

6. A person interested in becoming a designer might find it most helpful to study _______ .
a. music.
b. art.
c. another language.
d. cooking.

7. Beauty and grace are found _______ .
a. only in old building designs.
b. in both old and new building designs.
c. only in modern building designs.
d. only in the building designs of Greece and Rome.

8. Almost everything we touch and see has been designed to be beautiful and _______ .
a. natural.
b. graceful.
c. useful.
d. durable.

9. Another name for this story could be _______ .
a. "Graceful Homes and Towering Buildings."
b. "Design Is Everywhere."
c. "Buildings of the Past."
d. "Planned Towns of the Future."

10. This story is mainly about _______ .
a. designers who work with small items.
b. fancy packaging.
c. noticing design.
d. destroying natural beauty.

This story is an article from a series of Reading Comprehension Workbooks by Edcon Publishing Group. Edcon Publishing has a very large selection of different types of readings and other materials for learning. I highly recommend this company. - The Teacher

Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright's Works

Rudolph Schindler
Some Photos of Schindler's Work

Richard Neutra
Some Examples of Neutra's Works

No comments:

Post a Comment