The Genius of Design

Today I introduced an old five-episode documentary series named The Genius of Design which is also from BBC. The series examines the history of design, focusing on inventions – such as the ring pull and the fitted kitchen – that have transformed modern life. It tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution through 20’s modernism, the swinging 60’s, the designer 80’s and up to the present day. It is a wonderful look at the real nature of design and also good listening practise materials full of pastoral British English.

Episode 1: Ghosts in the Machine; it tells the fascinating story of the birth of industrial design. Alongside the celebrated names, from Wedgwood to William Morris, it also explores the work of the anonymous designers responsible for prosaic but classic designs for cast-iron cooking pots to sheep shears – harbingers of a breed of industrially produced objects culminating in the Model T Ford. Includes interviews with legendary designer Dieter Rams and J Mays, Ford Motors’ global head of design.

London buses

Big red buses are recognised – and even found – all over the world, and people recognise them as symbols of London. Visitors climb into London buses to go and see the Niagara Falls. London buses can be seen driving round Europe to advertise big department stores, or British events . They don’t need to have the words “London Transport” on the side of them: they are instantly recognised by millions of people!

It was almost 100 years ago, on October 25th 1911, the London General Omnibus Company ran their last horse-drawn omnibus through the streets of the capital. Since then the big red motor bus has been London’s “king of the road”.

Words in the news: Semblance


Last week I wrote a post about mom bashing, and how women judge and gang up on each other. But I think that what I was trying to communicate –how we use social media to treat each other badly — got diluted because I used such a controversial example (Maria Kang) .

After much reflection and a most excellent discussion with a smart friend, I have refined and extended my message beyond Moms to..well..everyone. And it is this: Do unto others on social media as you would do unto them in real life.

Have you noticed that once someone is behind a screen it’s like all semblance of courtesy no longer applies? Just hang out on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere commenting is enabled and you’ll see what I mean.