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Visual Resources Centre

Manchester School of Art
The 'Humbug' cushion chair by April Brigden, 1971.

Design Council Slide Collection

The collection contains over 22,300 different images and provides a unique insight into British design and its promotion in the period following the Second World War. The majority of images show a products of various kinds, including tableware, furniture, lighting, toys, domestic appliances, textiles, wallpapers, office equipment, engineering components and machinery. However, architecture, town planning/urban design, interior design, graphic design and corporate identity are also represented strongly within the collection.

The Design Council is the UK's national strategic body for design, and was established (as the Council of Industrial Design) in 1944 as part of the British government's planning for post-war reconstruction. The collection reflects the changing scope, policies and ethos of the organisation and contains many unique images that record the Council's various activities and initiatives, including its annual award scheme, exhibitions (such as 'Britain Can Make It' in 1946) and involvement in projects such as the Festival of Britain (1951).

Cataloguing and Digitisation Projects

The Visual Resources Centre has received funding from the British Library, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to undertake cataloguing and digitisation projects on the Design Council Slide Collection. As a result of these projects, over 13,000 images have been made available online via the website of the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS). An illustrated online guide to the collection is also available on the VADS site.


Image licensing

Images from the Design Council Slide Collection have been licensed for use in numerous publications, exhibitions and websites. For requests to reproduce images and other enquiries regarding the collection, please contact the Special Collections Archivist.