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Murphy, E., Evans, M., 2016.

20th Century Boys: Pioneering British Design Thinkers

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Design Research Society Conference 2016
Publication:DRS2016: Future-Focused Thinking
Venue:Brighton, UK
Publisher:Design Research Society
Dates:27/6/2016 - 30/6/2016

The history of modern British design is often told though well-known design icons such as the Mini, red double decker bus and the mini skirt. While these iconic designs are notable due to their significant contribution they make to the identity of British design, there is another, untold history that has the potential to provide insight into the foundations of contemporary design consultancy and design research. This paper considers the complex interactions between pioneering British design thinkers, manufacturers, consumers and educators as a means of uncovering an alternative history of British design, one that examines the culture of designing (its social history) as well as the artefacts it produced (its material culture). Based on biographical interviews and initial archival research, the paper profiles five pioneering design thinkers - Misha Black, Michael Farr, Bruce Archer, James Pilditch, and Peter Gorb - and discusses their contribution to design across corporate, consultancy, education and research domains.