Collage of designed objects

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Wednesdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: January to March
  • Tutor: David McKinstry
  • Fees from £120 to £205
  • Imperial College Attendance Certificate (T&Cs apply)
  • Book from 23 November
Booking link

History of Design is the study of the things around us that we use almost every moment of every day. From the clothes we wear, to the buildings we live and work in; from the vehicles we use to get around, to the phones in our pockets. In fact almost everything we use in daily life is in some sense designed, much of it by people we call designers.

But the history of design is also about the changes to designed objects over time, and how those changes reflect the different attitudes of different periods. On this course we are going on a fascinating journey which will allow us to explore some of the great historical and contemporary names in design, some of the great objects of design, and the relationship between designers and designed objects and society at different periods of time.

The course will start in the early nineteenth century and move forwards in time to the present day. In it we will focus on four principle areas:

  • an historical survey of design periods and styles from the early 1800s to the present day
  • ideas as to what people believed was good and bad design at different periods and the ideas that underpinned underpinned those beliefs
  • key works of design by key designers over the historical period covered, and their relationship to the principles in wider movements
  • The institutions for the teaching, promotion, display and sale of design.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and so no previous knowledge of art or design history or practice is necessary. It is also be suitable for those who have some background in art and design history or practice.

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance Certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information