10 Great and British Designs, Handpicked by Two Eagle-Eyed Design Critics

By Sam Scott on at

Tim Greenhalgh of FITCH writes... "Design is everywhere, and there is almost nothing that you use or see everyday that has, in fact, not been designed in some way...but is it great? For me, great design makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention – it’s transformational and makes you view the regular world around you in a totally new way. It's remarkable because after seeing it, you want to tell someone/everyone about it: ”have you seen…!”

There are many examples of great design, but the following are remarkable statements that have, in some way, changed the world we thought we understood, by Great British creative talent.

Here are five picks from Tim Greenhalgh, and below, the Design Museum's director, Deyan Sudjic...


Tim Greenhalgh, FITCH

Global Creative chief for FITCH, Tim Greenhalgh steers the creative output of twelve multinational studios, driving design thinking and influencing the shape of creativity worldwide.


Alec Issigonis's Mini

The second most influential car of the 20th century, after the Model T Ford, was designed by Alec Issigonis -- “Never copy the opposition” was his belief, and with this he conceived an original front wheel drive layout resulting in the age-defining small car of the sixties. Image Credit: The Telegraph


Norman Foster's Millau Bridge, in Southern France

One of the tallest bridges in the world, this technically-advanced structure is a cable-stayed design with multiple spans across a 2.5km length -- it was conceived to create the minimum visual interference in the landscape, yet manages to be one of the most breathtaking structures of modern times. Image Credit: daleringham / Photobucket


Peter Saville's Unknown Pleasures album cover, for Joy Division

Designed in 1979 by graphic designer Peter Saville for Factory Records, this pared back design reflected the mood of the band and their fans, who felt it was not very cool to put the name or title on the cover -- the image was taken from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy and shows the successive pulses and flashes emitted by the dying star CP1919. Image Credit: Midnight Punk


Jonathan Ive's iMac for Apple

This Northumbria University-educated product designer changed the world's view of what the design of a computer should be -- the original colour was called Bondi Blue, and it was translucent rather than a dull grey box. Ive went on to design the iPod, the Macbook, the iPhone and iPad and the beauty of the products were matched with a deep understanding of the technology and engineering required to create these ground breaking products -- form and function, perfectly aligned. Image Credit: Smashing Lists


Turner Duckworth's Coke branding

Turner Duckworth is a London-based design agency which dared to touch this iconic American brand that has a brand value of an estimated $74 billion. Their design was simplified, and the look of the brand was revitalised with a "back to basics" look. The red and white Coca Cola logo is recognised by 94 per cent of the world's population -- so a brave design. Image Credit: Creative Review


Deyan Sudjic, Director of The Design Museum in London

Before being appointed the Director of the Design Museum in 2006, Sudjic was Dean of the faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at Kingston University; visiting professor at the Royal College of Art, and the Observer's design and architecture writer. Sudjic has had many books on design and architecture published, including works on the designer Ron Arad; Japanese fashion designer Rei Karakubo, and Norman Foster.


Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert's road signage system

Introduced at the dawn of the 1960s and a model of lucid clarity and modernity (which has, over the years, looked better and better despite the slovenly undermining of its basic principles), motorway signs are now cluttered up with clunky brown heritage signposts, and crude commercial logs. Image Credit: Design Museum


Design Research Unit's double arrow for British Rail

This is one of the great logos, devised to modernise what was once called British Railway. The state-owned system was renamed British Rail to take on the glamour (as it seemed at the time) of the airlines, and the old heraldic symbol, a lion holding a wheel dethroned by the two way arrow. Privatisation of the services has marginalised the logo, but it still clings to road signs, and has inspired dozens of lookalikes around the world. Image Credit: Creative Review


Ron Arad's Rover chair

The point about British design is that there is no such thing, just design in Britain. Ron Arad is a case in point; he came here as a student 35 years ago and stayed, shaping the landscape with his impossible-to-categorise work. What really got him started was the Rover chair, salvaged from what is the unimpeachably respectable British car, the Rover. Image Credit: Bukowskis


Alex Moulton's Moulton bicycle

Alex Moulton has been building small-wheeled bicycles for 50 years, ever since he produced the suspension system for Alec Issigonis’s Mini, and saw the potential for a two-wheeler. They have become progressively more beautiful, and the steel section structure of the early models have given way to elegant space. Image Credit: Moulton


Rodney Kinsman's stacking chair

Made by his company OMK, it is a strongly graphic blend of high tech and pop design. It's structurally ingenious, and as Kinsman once said, there is no need for people to complain that the metal makes for a cold surface to sit on, as it's full of holes. Image Credit: Live Auctioneers

This week, we're celebrating the many facets of modern design on Gizmodo UK, with a design theme week. Bookmark this page for all related stories, features, interviews and competitions, or contact us here with tips.