National Design and Desenho Industrial: Brazilian Issues in Historical Perspective

Felipe Kaizer & João de Souza Leite & Lucas Cunha

2018. Cunha, Lucas & Kaizer, Felipe & Souza Leite, João de. ICDHS 11 (International Conferences on Design History and Studies): Back to the future.

DOI 10.29327/115614.11-1 []. PDF-file [].


Today, there is a mismatch between the practice and the understanding of ‘design’ inside and outside Brazil. While the meaning of the term began to expand from the 1960s onwards across the world, the effects of a semantic and conceptual restriction are constantly challenging the very notion of ‘design’ in Brazil. This is quite evident due to differences between Brazilian design research and the international debate on design issues. There are multiple and complex causes for this phenomenon. In any case, we must return to the time when the activity in its modern way was established in the country in the 1950s. That was a period of intense industrial expansion associated to nationalism, identified as ‘national-developmentalism’—and the arriving of ‘industrial design’ as ‘desenho industrial’. This return to a historical time seeks to understand not only the translation of the American industrial design and the influence of the German model of Ulm in the creation of the first Brazilian institutions of design education, but also the singularities and difficulties encountered since then. Also in the 1950s, following an international trend, planning practice emerges in public and private spheres, affecting the broader understanding of the field of design (or projeto).


Design History. Design concepts. Planning and designing. Brazil.