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Designing Britain 1945 - 1975 > From Solving Problems to Selling Product > Product Evolution
 
PRODUCT EVOLUTION
 


Mini Assignment

This part of the site is predominantly image based. Section 1 shows examples of low cost domestic cameras, from models produced in the 1930s, through to the advent of the Instamatic in the 1960s. Section 2 shows examples of cameras produced from the 1980s onwards.

By comparing these selections, and using the images as examples to back up your analysis, write a report discussing how these two sets of examples differ, and how the form of these products relate to the accounts of design activity given in the Profession and Theory sections of the module.

The captions in Section 2 have been kept deliberately brief, so that you can draw your own conclusions about the intentions of the designers producing these designs, and produce your own analysis
 
Background

The fundamental operating principle of all these cameras has remained the same since the 1930s, when Dorwin Teague’s Box Brownie was produced. They are simply lightproof boxes with a small lens in the front, focusing light onto a photographic film at the back. Although photographic technology has now advanced from these basic principles, cameras based on this elementary format are still widely produced and used for home photography.
 
Section 1 - The Box Camera
 
Kodak Brownie Camera, 1936, USA. CRD00306 Kodak Brownie Camera, 1936, USA.

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The Brownie was designed in 1936 by Walter Dorwin Teague for Eastman Kodak in the USA. It established the principle of the cheap domestic camera. It sold for $1, and by the end of the decade had outsold any other camera ever produced.
 
Brownie Model D Six 20 Camera, c. 1948. CRD00613 Brownie Model D Six 20 Camera, c. 1948.

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The post-war Brownie was slightly more advanced, incorporating facility for flash contacts, and a more sophisticated focusing system. The form however, is strictly functional, and apart from the addition of a leather effect vinyl covering, the design makes few concessions towards styling considerations.
 
Kodak Brownie 127 Camera, 1952.
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Kodak Brownie 127 Camera, 1952.
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CRD00627 & CRD00628 Kodak Brownie 127 Camera, 1952.
 
By1952 the casing of the Brownie was made of moulded Bakelite rather than the original aluminium body of the 1936 version, and the folded steel of the 1940s version. The form is more streamlined than the original Box Brownie, but the use of Bakelite limited the colour to shades of black and brown. The ease of use was restricted by the roll film which was difficult to load. The inclusion of a carrying strap conveyed the camera’s portability.
 
Kodak Instamatic 100 Camera, 1962. CRD00302 Kodak Instamatic 100 Camera, 1962.

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The next major breakthrough in cheap camera design came in the 1960s, with the advent of the Instamatic. These cameras utilised a newly-developed cassette film system, which although more expensive than the earlier roll film, was far easier to load. The result for Kodak was an enormous leap in turnover, with increases in the sale of film, which the company also produced.
 
Kodak Instamatic 104 Camera, 1966.
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Kodak Instamatic 104 Camera, 1966.
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CRD00616 & CRD00303 Kodak Instamatic 104 Camera, 1966.
 
By 1966, the flash system had been improved, and it was now possible to purchase a boxed starter set containing all the accessories required, including batteries.

As well as being easier to use, and a more sophisticated product, the Instamatic also marked a breakthrough in styling. The design of the camera appeared sophisticated by imitating more advanced products. The shape is similar to the more expensive SLR cameras available at the time, and although the camera is fixed focus, an imitation bezel has been moulded in the lens casing. The body is made from injection-moulded polystyrene, which is not only lighter and cheaper than the Bakelite of the Brownie 127, but also uses silver and aluminium-effect detailing. The design ‘speaks the language’ of professional products in order to appeal to the domestic consumer.
 
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Section 2 – Product Diversification

Write your own analysis of the following examples of cheap cameras produced since the 1980s, and discuss the changes that have occurred since the 1960s. Who are these products aimed at, and how have the designers used form, colour and materials to convey these meanings?
 
Hanimex 110 TF, C. 1980. CRD00611 Hanimex 110 TF, C. 1980.

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Hanimex 110 DF, C. 1980. CRD00614 Hanimex 110 DF, C. 1980.

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Praktica ‘Sport’ camera, 1992. CRD00622 Praktica ‘Sport’ camera, 1992.

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Novelty Football camera, 1990s. CRD00624 Novelty Football camera, 1990s.

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Camera Branded with Burger King Corporation, 1980s CRD00621 Camera Branded with Burger King Corporation, 1980s

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SupaSnaps Snappit Camera, 1990s (available in yellow, red green, and blue). CRD00618 SupaSnaps Snappit Camera, 1990s (available in yellow, red green, and blue).

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SupaSnaps cameras, with a variety of screen printed logos and surface patterns, 1990s.
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SupaSnaps cameras, with a variety of screen printed logos and surface patterns, 1990s.
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CRD00629 & CRD00610 SupaSnaps cameras, with a variety of screen printed logos and surface patterns, 1990s.
 
Single use camera, branded with Habitat logo, 1998. CRD00623 Single use camera, branded with Habitat logo, 1998.

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Le Clic, Japan Optics, 1990s CRD00626 Le Clic, Japan Optics, 1990s

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Skina Smile Camera, SK-125, 1996
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Skina Smile Camera, SK-125, 1996
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CRD00620 & CRD00619 Skina Smile Camera, SK-125, 1996
 
‘Big Top’ cream topping camera, 1990s. CRD00617 ‘Big Top’ cream topping camera, 1990s.

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Go to Assignment 2 to download a design brief that addresses the issues raised in this section, and allows you to put some of these ideas into action.
 
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