Revealing the Importance of Learning Historical Inventions as Designer


The context in which we receive the information will affect our interpretation of the information, our opinion, and the decisions we make. Therefore, studying history is a positive way to add context to our better understanding of design.

As an interaction designer, understanding the background of moveable type and the Renaissance as a time of invention is important. When we use different fonts or tools in our designs, we take their existence for granted. However, they were not like this when they were first invented. In fact, these historical inventions were slowly transformed into what they are now with antecessor‘s wisdom over a long period of time. In other word, the inventions we see today used to be symbols of an era before slowly becoming objects within our reach.

Movable type

Developed around 1040 A.D. in China, movable type is an important inventions that revolutionized the communication of ideas. In addition, the emergence of movable type printing facilitated the evolution of handwriting to print. As a contribution to interaction design, the impact of movable type demonstrates the importance of communication. Furthermore, the advent of movable type create a standard font libraries, revealing the exploration of font aesthetics.


With the popularization of ideas and technology in Europe, the mass circulation of movable type starts a revolution in knowledge and communication. By accelerating the flow of knowledge, the technology of printing promote the ideas the Renaissance efficiently in Europe society. As a great inventor and artist in Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci is famous in applying scientific method to every aspect of life. Since da Vinci’s inventions were mostly ahead of time, most designs were unrealizable at the time. Even so, his ideas provided a major contribution to many subsequent designs such as machine gun and helicopter.

Through da Vinci’s inventions, we see the possibility that science create — to innovate, to solve problems. Like the essence of interaction design, solving user problems in an innovative way. Studying the history of inventions of the time allow us to connect with people in the past. Thus helping us recognize that design is one of the oldest of human pursuits, not the result or dependent on computer technology.


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About the author

Emily Tseng