Ken Garland Artwork
1 minute read


Good designers are a naturally curious bunch and take inspiration from a wide range of sources. Looking up from the screen every now and then, responding to the world around us through constant inquiry, makes the work better and us better people too.

Good designers are a naturally curious bunch and take inspiration from a wide range of sources. Looking up from the screen every now and then, responding to the world around us through constant inquiry, makes the work better and us better people too.

We've been talking a lot about our design heroes in the studio lately. And since we're able to go to restaurants again, the classic conversation starter - whom, if anyone, would we like to invite as dinner guests? Designers, across all disciplines, popped up in conversation - all of them influential to our design practice. We're going to be celebrating our heroes in a series of articles and projects in our Journal.

First up, the late great Ken Garland, one of the most influential and principled designers of our time. Ken’s work is synonymous with mid-20th-century Britain; Galt Toys, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and Keniston Housing Association, among others. As a prolific writer and educator, Ken also produced five books on design and, as Garland fans will know, published many influential articles including the First Things First manifesto in 1964

The brilliant folks at Unit Editions have made their 2012 monograph, Ken Garland: Structure and Substance available to download for free as a PDF. Long sold-out, the book covers everything from Ken’s student exercises at the Central School of Arts and early work on Design magazine to the many client projects completed with Ken Garland & Associates from 1962 onwards (such as Galt Toys and CND), and his self-published books of photography.

Further reading:

Remembering Ken Garland - Wallpaper Reputations: Ken Garland - Eye magazine Adrian Shaughnessy on Ken Garland - It’s nice that