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The InterfaceIBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945-1976$
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John Harwood

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670390

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670390.001.0001

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Introduction The Interface

Introduction The Interface

(p.1) Introduction The Interface
The Interface

John Harwood

University of Minnesota Press

This introductory chapter presents a historical account of the evolution of IBM’s design program, beginning with President Thomas Watson Jr.’s hiring of industrial designer Eliot Noyes and tasking him with reinventing IBM’s corporate image. For Watson, corporate design was not just about establishing a good public image but a matter of effective management, which was what the company aimed to achieve. With this idea in mind, Noyes set out to design and manage IBM’s “new look”. The chapter also discusses the notion of the “interface,” which is defined as the link that connects man and machine; the book aims to outline IBM’s design program by means of its multiple interfaces in order to avoid an exhaustive description of system-building, and to prevent one from fixing its historical evolution into a sole perspective.

Keywords:   IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., Eliot Noyes, corporate image, corporate design, interface

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