This thesis is structured in six chapters. Chapter I contains an introduction and includes purpose, theory, method, and concepts. The main purpose, as depicted by the title, is to examine the roots of Swedish ideology concerning what today is generally named design, as embodied in the concept of more beautiful or better things for everyday life (in Swedish: ”vackrare vardagsvara”).
Chapter II contains a background and includes philosophical ideas and aesthetic movements in Europe which have influenced the Swedish Society of Arts and Crafts (in Swedish ”Svenska Slöjdföreningen”, abbreviated SSF) which was later renamed the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design (in Swedish: ”Föreningen Svensk Form”). It considers these activities: the Arts and Crafts movement in England, the Swedish national romantic movement, Deutscher Werkbund in Germany, and Swedish moulders of public opinion and new ideas, like Ellen Key, Carl Larsson and Gregor Paulsson.
Chapter III is an ideological biography of Gregor Paulsson. The chapter deals with biographical data and ideological development, and the social aesthetical texts which were important in his activity in the National Museum and as director of The Swedish Society of Arts and Crafts. Gregor Paulsson is considered mainly in his role as social aesthetical propagandist and museologist.
Chapter IV concerns the early history and activities of the Swedish Society of Arts and Crafts seen as an introduction to the Baltic Exhibition 1914, and the subsequent schism which eventually led to its reorganization and a new ideological orientation. Its activities were directed towards increased cooperation between artists and industry, and a special department was established as an employment office for companies and designers under the management of the textile artist Elsa Gullberg. This chapter also includes a brief portrait of key persons in the Society.
Chapter V is a study in several sections of the articles for everyday use seen in industrial practice, with Gustavsberg’s china factory and Orrefors’ glassworks as two separate historical studies. The 1917 Home Exhibition is surveyed as an example of the educational ambitions in the development of people’s taste. The focus of the chapter, however, is the international industrial art exhibition in Paris 1925, Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, and the debate about it in the Swedish and French press.
Chapter VI consists of a concluding discussion with a final epilogue. It contains suggested questions for future research including relations between design and ethics.