Some products are so ubiquitous, so everyday, that one forgets that they were ever designed. They just are. Bubble wrap is one of these products – overlooked, taken for granted.
5 September 2014
The styling of Braun products, in the company’s 1950s to 1970s heyday (before its acquisition by Gillette, in 1984) was mostly characterised by restraint.
17 July 2014
A European plastics icon celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year: Playmobil, the cheerful, injection-moulded figurines that have brought joy to generations of children across the globe.
3 June 2014
You probably have one on, or near, your desk right now. Its ubiquity is such that you might not even recognise it as a landmark design. But it’s there. The Hungarian inventor László Bíró first exhibited his invention, the ballpoint pen, at the Budapest International Fair in 1931.
8 May 2014
Until this groundbreaking design’s release in 1934, radios and gramophones were considered furniture. Their electronic guts were housed in the cabinet maker’s craft: hand-finished boxes produced using centuries-old techniques.
2 April 2014
Two handles, a smily face and a lot of bounce. The Spacehopper has become visual shorthand, a way of saying “the 1970s” as clearly and unambiguously as the Rubik’s Cube says “the 1980s”.
7 March 2014
Until 1982 a torch was a torch. It was either a dumpy box held like a watering can, or a cylinder held like a club. The Durabeam changed this. It was the first torch to be held like a walkie-talkie or a Star Trek-style communications device and it flipped open like a Zippo lighter. Originally intended as a promotional device, for the Duracell company, the Durabeam’s novel design was thought sufficiently exciting to market it as a consumer product.
14 February 2014
We’ve been busy, busy, busy for many decades. The first paper coffee cups, for busy people who wanted caffeine on the go, were developed in the US in the 1930s. But two problems blighted their usability: spillage and ease of access.
7 January 2014
It was 1953 and Sweden’s Telegraph Service was celebrating its 100th anniversary. LM Ericsson, the Swedish manufacturer of telecoms equipment, wanted to make something extra special to celebrate the event – a technological tour-de-force to demonstrate Sweden’s technological and design pre-eminence in the post-war era. The Ericofon was born.
20 December 2013
When launching the new iPhone 5C, Apple’s chief designer, Jonathan Ive, described it as being “beautifully, unapologetically plastic”. Its polycarbonate body (with steel reinforcment) gives the 5C a cheerful, colourful appearance a world away from the stark aluminium and glass minimalism that has become Apple’s hallmark
8 November 2013
Sometimes consumers need a bit of a nudge before they embrace innovation. When the American Piggly Wiggly chain pioneered the self-service supermarket, in 1937, actors were paid to push trolleys around so customers could understand the concept. When Earl Tupper launched his Tupperware range of PP, PE and PC kitchenware in 1946 it was a flop
1 October 2013