Design: it’s all around us

08 Nov 2019 | Culture

Design: it’s all around us

By Nikki Burton

Hello everyone! I’m Eve, a recent graduate and Perq Studio’s brand spanking new Junior Designer and Animator! I have recently moved down to London from the Midlands, so there was a slight culture shock there. I have just about come to terms with the silence on the Underground, the unwritten rule that you must never, ever talk to a stranger and god forbid you stop for 0.5 seconds to check where you are going. That being said, the joy of living in London is that there are so many opportunities right on your doorstop, so, this #Tuesplay I decided my laundry could wait and headed down to the Design Museum.

Now, being the frugal gal I am (it’s likely I am still in student-mode), I decided to visit the free exhibits only – but I was not disappointed. It’s safe to say I have a strange fascination with the London Underground so when I saw a life-sized model of the new designs for the front of the Underground trains I began to fangirl ever-so-slightly. There was an accompanying video describing the proposed walk-through carriages, air-conditioning (finally!), digital adverts and LED lights - everywhere! The video explained how each train would likely be in service for 30 – 40 years so the design had to be timeless whilst still keeping in touch with its traditional roots.

Moving swiftly on from underground trains, they had a magnificent wall filled with objects people regarded as important designs, whether it be for their efficiency, beauty or because they held personal memories. They highlighted that for a design to work, having one of these qualities is essential. Included on this wall was a pair of scissors, flip-flops, an Oyster card, a violin, the iconic blue Ikea bag, a mop, Phillipe Starck’s juicer, and a Singer sewing machine to name just a few. I love that they presented the beauty in everyday, seemingly mundane objects. Of course, this can be related to everyday life itself – living in London allows you to do a lot of people watching, something that always brings a smile to my face.

Another exhibit I particularly appreciated was the display showing an array of electronic devices including laptops, mobile phones and TVs, from old to new, to show just how far technology has come in the past few years (a lovely photo op too!). Now, being the tender age of 22, chunky CRT TVs and life without easily accessible internet is only a vague memory so this really highlighted to me the advances in technology happening right under our noses. It’s always interesting to see where our current devices were born from and how they have developed, showing us both the turning points in their design and the not-so successful routes they have taken. Of course, older technologies can come back into fashion, namely Polaroid cameras and turntables, which is a whole other discussion in itself!

So, I have to say it was a rather enlightening trip. I realise I hadn’t truly appreciated the importance of creating recognisable products and brands before. Designs that become iconic for their beauty, efficiency and meaning. Gaining loyal customers is essential - they understand you and most importantly they trust you. This way they will be sure to keep coming back, time and time again!