Creative Dundee

Iconic Design Exhibition

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This forthcoming exhibition at the Cooper Gallery will showcase some of the most iconic and familiar British design work, ever.

The name ‘Design Research Unit’ may not be familiar, but their designs will be – this multi-disciplinary design agency created everything from that British Rail logo to those London street signs.

Founded by a poet, an architect and a graphic designer in London in 1942, the group were responsible for some of the most important designs produced in post-war Britain. With expertise in architecture, graphics and industrial design, they’ve led the way for many generations of creative collectives; their ethos was simple and clear, ‘Like every aspect of modern industry, design should be a co-operative activity’.

Spanning over four decades of their work (1942 – 72), this exhibition focuses on their significant work, which brought good design to all sections of society. It covers three phases: the group’s early origins; their initial work in exhibition design; and their role in creating some of the first corporate design in Britain.

Reading more about DRU’s collective model, they didn’t just want to bring ‘art and industry’ together, instead they wanted to produce design that was for everyone. They rose out of the post-war doom as the new NHS and welfare state were being built – a time when everyone wanted to forget about the past and be optimistic about designing the future.

The Design Research Unit founders sound not too dissimilar to the characters from Mad Men – their antics included convincing young agency workers to bunk off to get drunk and carrying fake moustaches around to have fun at dull meetings!

Dundee is the only Scottish host of this touring pioneering exhibition, so we’d recommend visiting it before the 16 December!


Venue: The Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, 13 Perth Road, Dundee, DD1 4HT

Exhibition runs: Saturday 19 November – Friday 16 December 2011. (Mon-Fri: 9.30am – 5pm. Sat: 10.30am – 4.30pm)

Preview: 18 November, 6.30 – 8pm

Curator’s Talk by Michelle Cotton: 18 November, 5.30 – 6.30pm

Artist’s Talk by Turner Prize 2011 Nominee Martin Boyce: 1 December, 5.30 – 6.30pm

Keep up to date with all of DJCAD’s activities and exhibitions on Twitter: @ExhibitionDJCAD



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