As any designer knows, design isn’t about making something for yourself, it’s about making it for other people: an audience, a customer, or marketplace. One of the most important first steps to any new design project is the Research and Discovery phase, in which a designer researches a company, the products and designs in the marketplace and the general culture at large.
A good designer not only relies on their own topical research but also seeks the opinions of others. This research is called market research and is an important first step to take in order to make designs that are suited for the current culture.
Nowhere is market research more important than for products of utility and for the home. Mid-century designers, manufacturers, and advertisers recognized this and devoted much time and energy into developing and refining the art of market research. In the 1960s market research was booming and interest in it was also mainstream.
In the 1960s market research was booming and interest in it was also mainstream. At that time, Pyrex Corningware made a short film introducing their own coffee pot research with the women of America entitled “American Women Partners in Research.” The film has much useful information and provides a good introduction to market research. It’s also a wonderful window into the world of 1960s America that is both interesting and entertaining.