On Monday 12 December, Tonbridge Grammar School Year 13 Design Technology students participated in an educational trip to The Design Museum in Kensington. This visit put into perspective our studies on specific products, such as classic designs and also broadened our knowledge in innovative products and designs. We were interested in seeing the Beazley Designs of the year competition nominees and taking inspiration from the innovations.
Initially, we began our tour of the museum exploring the wall of Classic Designs. A Classic Design, is a manufactured product that has a “timeless aesthetic appeal” and is also regarded as “Iconic”. Examples of Classic designs we observed at The Design Museum include the Underground sign, a Polaroid camera and Converse shoes. Throughout the museum, there were timelines of the development evolutions of products such as cameras and telephones. However one aspect of the exhibition that caught everyone’s attention, was the evolution of Apple products. On display, there were the iPhone and Apple Mac generations and other Apple innovations lesser known such as the “iBook”. Through seeing the evolution on products and brands that are widely known, we found ourselves and others in the exhibition instantly recognising the Classic designs which provoked different emotional responses and amazement in how much technology has advanced.
Moreover, the exhibition not only focused on products, it also explored graphic design, photography and advertising, as a way of creating an impact and reaching a wider audience. The “Agents of Change” section of the exhibition took this into account, and explored different political movements and protest campaigns, but also displayed anti-smoking advertisements on cigarette boxes which created a big impact on deterring people from smoking. Moreover, within the “Agents of Change” section, a prototype model of one of the Maggie’s Centres was on display. The charity worked with high profile architects such as Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster to build centres that provides support for those affected by Cancer.
Once we had seen the main exhibition, we explored the nominated designs for the annual Beazley Designs of the year competition. We were amazed to see how innovative and original all of the designs were, ranging from improving a product to creating a whole new innovation such as a DIY surgical kit; made from 3D printing and laser cutting technologies. A few of the nominees which really caught our attention, were: “The drinkable book” by Brian Gartside, Aaron Stephenson and Dr Theresa Dankovic which is a text providing lifesaving information about water issues, while the pages are made from germ-killing silver filter paper, which each, can purify 100 litres of water. Also, relating to the current crisis of displaced refugees, another design was a set of open-source wayfinding icons for refugees; this was a set of signs and symbols which could be easily understood and recognised by refugees who do not speak the language of the nation they are displaced in. We found these designs very interesting as they seemed to take into account global and current issues and we were intrigued with how the designers were able to solve these problems creatively and innovatively.
Overall, we enjoyed getting involved and were very grateful to be given the opportunity to visit an amazing environment which has enabled us to take inspiration and develop our current design ideas in our studies, by taking into account the different fields of innovation
Seline, Year 13