Farey, Arden

Carroll Gantz
Birth/Death Age: 

Arden Farey, FIDSA A Personal Remberance I first met Arden in 1970 when I interviewed for an industrial design “dream” job at Ampex Corporation in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The dream part of the job actually turned out to be Arden himself. Conventional wisdom held that design managers usually were not the best designers and were sometimes even part of the problem. Much to my surprise, Arden was definitely the exception to the rule. As I got to know him, I believed that our group was on the cutting edge of consumer electronics design with a leader who knew how to make it happen. He just seemed to know when to push, when to manage, and when to coach, and he did it with the quiet confidence of a true winner. In the midst of all this design euphoria, Arden told us that he had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I knew it was serious but the thing that I remember most was Arden’s attitude about it. I can’t really describe it except to say it was inspirational. Shortly after that, we all got bad news. Ampex Corporation had a financially disastrous year and our young division was being closed. Arden was transferred to Ampex corporate headquarters in Redwood City, California. His MS was rapidly progressing but hadn’t affected his positive outlook. Arden continued to actively promote good design, but he also began to think about the role of design with a more holistic vision, one that considered design’s impact on the planet’s ecosystem. In a time when most designers were myopically self-serving their own narrow interests, Arden was thinking in much broader terms. Following this thinking into action, in the late ‘70s he formed a Task Force to redefine the IDSA Code of Ethics to promote industrial design’s global ethical responsibilities. The proposed Code of Ethics was unanimously adopted by the Board of Directors. Arden presented his vision at Thrival (Thrive + Survive), the 1978 IDSA National Conference in Monterey, California.

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