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Getting a Grip Disability in American Industrial Design of the Late Twentieth Century

Bess Williamson
Winterthur Portfolio
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Winter 2012), pp. 213-236
DOI: 10.1086/669668
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669668
Page Count: 23
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Getting a Grip
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Abstract

From the 1970s to the end of the twentieth century, a number of American designers pursued the approach known as “universal design,” or design that can be used by both disabled and nondisabled people. Universal design informed a number of mainstream products as designers integrated disability-related features into functionally and aesthetically distinct offerings for the mass market. These successful, fashionable consumer goods reflected the ideal that design for people with disabilities could bring about better design for all. In the public image of these products, however, disability was rarely a central focus, but instead remained secondary or hidden.

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