British Design

British Design is influenced by an appreciation for heritage without being defined by it, drawing inspiration from a rich tradition of artisanship whilst remaining curious and innovative. Ruth Phillips

Internationally, British design is most often associated with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. The dual emphases on โ€˜right makingโ€™ and โ€˜fitness for purposeโ€™ have remained evident in British mainstream design from the Design and Industries Association in the twenties to the Council of Industrial Design in the post-War period. Although these are worthy principles in themselves, the tradition of Morris and the consequential โ€˜Cotswold effectโ€™ (which is anti-urban and anti-industrial) has meant that Britain has not kept pace with the rest of the world when it comes to applying design to the industry.

Dorothy Marx textile designer featured image

Designs for London Underground seats. She studied painting and wood engraving at the Royal College of Art in London, as well as at the Central School of Arts and Crafts.Read More →

Sniffin Glue fanzine cover featured image

The DIY style was one of the novelties that British punk introduced in the 1970s. There were hundreds of these fanzines, the most well-known of which being Sniff in ‘Glue. i-D, published by the art director Terry Jones, evolved from a fanzine into a publishing success.Read More →

Things of Beauty Growing cover artwork

British potters have revitalized traditional ceramic forms for nearly a century by creating or reinventing techniques, materials, and display methods. Things of Beauty Growing delves into the primary vessel typologies that have defined studio ceramics from the early twentieth century, such as bowls, vases, and chargers. Read More →

Walter Crane featured image

Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) was a British designer, artist and writer. He designed textiles, stained glass, wallpaper, and ceramics as a strong proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His books were available in both original and pirated copies in the U.S. Crane designed stained glass, tiles, wallpapers, embroideries, textiles, mosaics and decorative plasterwork.Read More →

Ambrose Heal - featured image

Ambrose Heal (1872โ€“1959) was a British furniture designer known for his simple and functional designs inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and was a member of the Art-Workers’ Guild. He adopted the more fashionable Modern approach to furniture, following the style of his designers J.F. Johnson and Arthur Greenwood.Read More →

Alastair Morton textile

Morton joined his family’s Morton Sundour Fabrics in 1931 and oversaw the company’s first screen-printed fabrics. He was the artistic director and principal designer of Edinburgh Weavers in Carlisle, which was established in 1928 as Morton Sundour’s creative design unit from 1932 to 1935. From the 1930s, he was a supporter of the Modern movement, commissioning works from well-known painters and artists.Read More →

Eric Ravilious

Eric William Ravilious was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landscapes. He served as a war artist, and was the first British war artist to die on active service in World War II. Ravilious studied with Edward Bawden and Charles Mahoney at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London in 1928. He painted a series of marionette-like murals for Morley College, which were destroyed by bombing in 1941.Read More →

Jacqueline Groag Textiles

Jacqueline Groag (1903 – 1986) was a Czech textile designer and ceramicist. Born in Prague she studied in Vienna at the Kunstgewerbeschule during the 1920s. In 1937 she moved to Paris where she designed dress prints for Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiparelli and others.Read More →

Peter Murdoch featured image

Peter Murdoch (b.1940) is a British furniture, interior, graphic, and industrial designer.Read More →

Ideal Home Exhibition 1908

The Daily Mail newspaper sponsored the Ideal Home Exhibition (from 1908). These shows provide an insight into popular taste and aspiration across all facets of domestic design and organisation in Britain.Read More →

Lampshade 1 by Sebastian Bergne

The phrase ‘less is more’ perfectly encapsulates the core of these works, the quality of which can only be attained by a proper understanding of form.Read More →

Lucienne and Robin Day

Lucienne Day was one of the most influential post-war British textile designers. She developed a unique style of pattern making. READ MORERead More →

40s and 50s Graphic Design

The 1940s and 1950s the age of the Graphic Designer. Designers, illustrators, and artists used their talents to disseminate information.Read More →

Blenko established the first American factory to produce sheet glass for stained glass windows. Blenko’s early successes include providing glass for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The White House has a collection of Blenko table ware, used periodically. Wayne Husted pioneered the concept of “architectural scale” designs. Blenko’s “Historic Period” begins with Anderson in 1946 and includes work of Nickerson up to 1974.Read More →

Mary Quant black and white image

Mary Quant, a pivotal figure in British fashion design, studied art and design at Goldsmiths College of Art from 1952 to 1955 while also taking evening classes in clothing construction and cutting. In 1955, in Knightsbridge, London, she established her first shop Bazaar on King’s Road, followed by the second shop Terence Conran designed in Knightsbridge.Read More →

Henry Cole Christmas Card featured image

Henry Cole was a significant force in 19th-century British design education, emphasising its importance to industry. He was also instrumental in the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the founding of the Journal of Design.Read More →

Laura Ashley featured image

Laura Ashley was one of the first British designers to experiment with the concept of lifestyle marketing. Her romantic vision of nineteenth-century rural life, adapted to modern domestic realities, inspired a generation of middle-class Britons who returned to country life in the 1960s and 1970s. LEARN MORERead More →

Minnie Macleish British textile designer

She collaborated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Constance Irving at London’s Foxton textiles and Amsterdam’s Metz store. Macleish was a prolific designer during the 1920s and 1930s, creating patterns for Morton Sundour fabrics.Read More →

Design Sketch featured image

The British Royal Society of Arts (RSA) established the Royal Designer for Industry designation in 1936 to encourage high-quality industrial design and elevate the reputation of designers. It is given to persons who have demonstrated “consistent excellence in beautiful and efficient industrial design.”Read More →

Clyne Farquharson featured image

In the 1930s, Farquharson was a major contributor to the design of British glassware. His documented career in glass began in 1935 with Arches, an engraved design on glass produced by John Walsh Walsh, where he produced other cut-crystal glassware as its head designer 1935โ€”51. Read More →