From the iconic Routemaster bus to the Dyson vacuum cleaner, the graphics of Penguin bookcovers or Vivienne Westwood garments, Britain has been at the forefront of design practice. In this informative and broad-ranging book Cheryl Buckley examines the culture as well as the products of design in Britain. In doing so, she explores questions of national identity, regional variations and notions of Britishness in a Britain that has been transformed from leading an empire into a modern multicultural society. Beginning in the early twentieth century, Buckley demonstrates how notions of stability, longevity and tradition prevailed, evident in furniture, ceramics and textiles. She traces the introduction and acceptance of International Modernism in Britain; focuses on activities such as the organization of the Utility schemes, and assesses how shopping became a crucial element of lifestyle. She examines how a more fragmented, eclectic but potentially questioning design emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, with recycling and green attitudes, and discusses the confrontational approach of young fashion and graphic designers, as well as the star culture of product designers and designer labels.
Further, she considers how the heritage industry and popular nostalgia about the past has provided powerful images taken up by all types of designers, and how exhibitions in museums and galleries have played a part in reinventing Britain's past. A cogent and timely look at Britain and its design culture, "Designing Modern Britain"is a multilayered examination of the creation, practice and meaning of design and Britain's place in the global design world. It is essential reading for designers, design historians and all those interested in Britain's visual culture.