The Button

Personal Selection
I chose to look at a button for this project, because it is very common in many of our clothes and accessories (bags, purses, and others). I felt as if there was a lot more history behind the making of a button than most people know. I love how simple buttons are yet there was so much thought that was put into them to make them into what we see today.

History
Buttons are actually an ancient invention from around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley or the “Cradle of Civilization”. They began as decoration for clothing before they started being used as a closure/fastener that we know them as today. Buttons were also used more as jewelry and art, many times being hand-crafted, unlike the four-hole buttons that are so common today.

Function/Purpose
The most important function, or use, for a button nowadays is as a way to attach and hold things together. Of course, buttons need a button hole or else it would not be able to hold anything together! It’s very interesting, however, to note that in the past buttons were only used for decoration and were not originally intended to be a useful piece of clothing.

User
One of the greatest things about buttons is how universal, or used by everyone, they are. There is no one who is not allowed to use buttons and they can be seen on everything from baby clothing to scarves to purses to quilts.

Materials/Production
In most cases, buttons are made in a factory so they can mass produce them (create large amounts at the same time). When they are created in this way, its costs less money for each button and it takes less time. Other buttons are hand-made and carved; these are usually buttons that are made for decoration and beauty rather than holding clothes together. They are also so easily changed and adapted to new styles because there are so many materials that can be used to make buttons: wood, plastic, glass, metal, even animal bones!

Affordance
Surprisingly, the way buttons are shaped doesn’t really help us, the user, to know how to use it. If you looked at a button for the first time, you would just think it was a pretty decoration, rather than knowing to put it through a button hole. It’s once we see someone, like our parents, use a button that we learn what they’re used for and it becomes natural to button up your jacket, so much that you might do it without thinking.

Resources

Stewart, Jude. “The Button: A Visual History of the World’s Sexiest Fastening.” Slate Magazine, 14 June 2012, www.slate.com/articles/life/design/2012/06/button_history_a_visual_tour_of_button_design_through_the_ages_.html. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.

“History of Buttons.” 403 Forbidden, www.antiquebuttons.nl/index_en.php?p0=history_of_buttons. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.

“Button History And 13 Button Facts.” The Redhead Riter RSS, www.theredheadriter.com/2012/07/button-history-and-13-button-facts/. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.

The Button Guy — Button Making made easy, thebuttonguy.net/videos.html. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.

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