In the last century it was really hard to find an industrial or graphic designer. Perhaps you hang out with them at a golf club or your kids play soccer together; perhaps you saw someone interviewed in a magazine, a rare enough occurrence. The Internet changed all that with sites like Coroflot, set up in 1998 and now " the largest, most established, most diverse pool of professional creative portfolios in the world."
Now Alan Chochinov, also of Core77, tells us that it has been relaunched with " a new interface, improved usability, integrated promotional tools, and expanded social media integration". It is a lovely thing, and a few minutes of cruising found some really interesting things. Here is an example of how a site like this can help the public and the prospective client understand what a designer does and how they work, (something that I think is obscure to most people).
On the front page, there is a gorgeous photo of a hand powered clothes washer by a student at the School of Industrial Design in Lund, Sweden. When you dig a little deeper, you find an entire dissertation including:
The history of the washing machine;
sketches and design development;
And the finished product, and that isn't even every step shown. Not every project on Coroflot is detailed to this degree, but just one example like this gives such a wealth of information about how the design process works, how one goes through all of these stages of thought, planning, testing, questioning, prototyping and testing again before launching a product. It is not a sketch on the back of a napkin, but an example of how, as Le Corbusier noted late in life, Creation is a patient search.
That's the real value of an enterprise like Coroflot; It gives designers the tools to make themselves known, and it gives the public the opportunity to learn what design really is as well as who is doing it. I suspect I will be spending some time on their new, beautiful update.