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Published: 25 February 2017

By Andy Ross

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What is design?

A book, which arrived this week, has some salient advice... Design, by Christopher Bradshaw, is a book about the paper printing industry but the words in it apply much more widely. 

Published in 1964 before the advent of desktop publishing and sophisticated computer-aided design. this little tome is a no-nonsense and sensible guide to printing. It includes chapters on The Image and   Men, Materials, Machines but it is the first chapter, Words and Meanings, which I think is Very Useful.

Words convey ideas but they are subject to miscommunication and the imprecision of language. So the author has written this chapter to attempt to "unravel the words" the trade uses. I love the very first entry in this compendium -  Design.

Design, according to Christopher, involves people - the designer, the person requesting the work, the people who do the work, and the people who work with what has been done. He goes on to say that people are "seldom logical or complete or explicit" and that it is vital for communication between all the parties. 

We try, in our residencies and internships, to work alongside our colleagues. We learn just as much as a graduate coming to work with us, and sometimes even more! And that, I think, is why we have some very good designs for woven cloths in our collection. Our mutual respect and ability to work together is crucial to good results. So I agree completely with Mr Bradshaw. 

So, here's to good advice about design. It has loads to teach us about work, and about life too!