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Design Council Slide Collection

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History and Context

Fiesta, Ronald E. Brookes and Brookes & Adams Ltd, 1960

The Design Council Slide Collection has its origins in the Photographic Library set up by the Council of Industrial Design (CoID) in 1945. The CoID had been established by the British government the previous year "to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry", and to this end it sought to foster a critical awareness of design among manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

As part of this broadly educational role, the Council built up a collection of slides illustrating various aspects of design, and eventually a separate slide library was formed. During the 1950s and 60s the CoID gradually broadened its scope to encompass most areas of design as well as technical and management issues, and by 1972 (when the CoID was renamed the Design Council) it had also become heavily involved in the field of engineering design. These developments were reflected in the contents of the slide collection, which continued to grow until 1990. Following a review of the Design Council's role and functions in 1993, it withdrew from many of the services it operated, including the running of the slide library. However, the Council recognised the historical significance of the material in the slide library and sought a suitable new home for it. As a result, the collection was deposited on permanent loan to the Manchester Metropolitan University in 1995. The collection comprises almost 22,500 images and covers most areas of design. The majority of images show products of various kinds (including tableware, furniture, lighting, toys, domestic appliances, textiles, wallpapers, office equipment, engineering components and machinery), but other areas of design such as architecture, town planning, interior design, graphic design and corporate identity are also included. Due to the national role of the Council, the emphasis is mainly upon British design from 1945 to 1990, but there are also many images illustrating design from other countries and from earlier periods. Furthermore, the collection contains a large number of original and unique images that record directly many of the Council's own activities, including its annual design award scheme introduced in 1957, and the various exhibitions and other events that it organised or contributed to in the UK and abroad.

A representative sample of 2800 images from the collection were digitised as part of the JISC Image Digitisation Initiative (JIDI) in 1997-99, and over 6300 further images were deposited with VADS as a result of a cataloguing and digitisation project funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) in 1999-2002, and a further 4000 images were deposited with VADS as a result of a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in 2008-9. An illustrated online guide was also launched in 2009, which aims to indicate the strengths of the collection, enabling users to exploit it more fully as a resource for learning and research.

Copyright and permitted uses

The images and metadata presented in the Design Council Slide Collection are copyright of the Design Council and The Manchester Metropolitan University. They may be used for private research and study purposes only. They must not be altered or amended in any way without the permission of the copyright holders.

Merlin, Robert Welch and Westclox Ltd, 1964
Address: Special Collections
Manchester Metropolitan University
Sir Kenneth Green Library
All Saints
Manchester M15 6BH
Tel: (0)161 247 6159

Image credits

Note to Users

When searching this digital collection users should be aware that, in line with best practice, certain terminology and syntax controls have been implemented in cataloguing the images. Thus, subject keywords relating to object types are always given in plural form, and the names of designers and manufacturers etc in the Creator fields have been recorded in the form prescribed by the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (e.g. Grange, Kenneth not Kenneth Grange). These conventions are designed to ensure consistency and avoid ambiguity in the way things are described but, as a result, some data categories may contain words and phrases that depart from everyday natural language. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), published by the Getty Research Institute, has been used to control subject keywords and other terms where appropriate. This uses additional qualifying terms in brackets to differentiate between items where identical terms would otherwise be used e.g. tables (support furniture) and tables (documents). Although the AAT often provides UK English alternatives to US English preferred terms, this is not always the case. For example, no UK English equivalents are supplied for automobiles, faucets and trash cans. AAT preferred terms are used in the catalogue, and users therefore may wish to consult the AAT if they are unsure of the most effective choice of search terms.



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