The Null Device

Great British Design Quest

The BBC is running a poll of British design icons. On the current page are 25 candidates; there are the usual design classics (Jan Tschichold's distinctive Penguin paperback covers, red phone boxes, Routemaster buses, the Mini (and the miniskirt!), and Harry Beck's Tube map), and also some more recent entries, including Peter Saville's cover for New Order's Power, Corruption and Lies, Neville Brody's design of The Face magazine, the Dyson vacuum cleaner (what about the Henry?), Lara Croft and Grand Theft Auto. Oh, and the World Wide Web, because the first form of it was developed by an English bloke.

Not to mention a few things I didn't know were British, such as the Chopper bicycle now ironically popular with SugaRAPE-reading hipsters (apparently it's not Californian, just a knockoff of Californian designs) and Microsoft's Verdana typeface (designed by British-born type designer Mathew Carter). In that case, I wonder why they didn't include the iMac or iPod (whose appearance was designed by Englishman Jonathan Ive).

And it's interesting to read that Britain's current system of road signage was (re-)designed in the 1960s. Which probably explains why Australia has entirely different (US-style?) signs.

There are 2 comments on "Great British Design Quest":

Posted by: cos Tue Feb 7 11:01:56 2006

ah, but New Zealand has UK-style signs.

Posted by: acb Tue Feb 7 11:58:20 2006

New Zealand seems a lot more "British" than Australia. Apparently they also use BT-style phone plugs (the thin wide plastic ones). Do New Zealanders still consider themselves to be British?

I noticed that, in the first half of the 20th century, Australia took a lot of its cues on modernisation from the United States (road signs, the spelling of "Labor" in the Labor Party, VHF and UHF TV, and so on).

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