This is a huge compilation of the most important product designers, graphic designers, architects and other great professionals that made part of our history contributing to the evolution that we see today in each field. The data information is provided by the designmuseum.
The most important Finnish architect of the 20th century, ALVAR AALTO (1898-1976) was a central figure in international modernism. His greatest buildings, like the 1927 Viipuri Library and 1928 Paimio Sanatorium, fused the naturalism of Finnish romanticism with modernist ideals: as did his influential furniture and glassware.
Product Designer + Architect (1951-)
Combining playful forms and experiments with advanced technologies, RON ARAD (1951-) has emerged as one of the most influential designers of our time. Born in Tel Aviv, he moved to London in 1973 to study architecture and made his name in the early 1980s as a self-taught designer-maker of sculptural furniture. He now works across both design and architecture.
Graphic designer (1966- )
JONATHAN BARNBROOK is one of the UK’s most active graphic designers. Pioneering the notion of graphic design with a social conscience, Barnbrook makes strong statements about corporate culture, consumerism, war and international politics. Working in both commercial and non-commercial spheres, Barnbrook combines originality, wit, political savvy and
bitter irony in equal measures.
Graphic Designer (1920-1996)
SAUL BASS (1920-1996) was not only one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century but the undisputed master of film title design thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.
Shoe Designer (1942-)
Working alone without assistants or apprentices, MANOLO BLAHNIK (1942-) is solely responsible for the design of every one of the thousands of shoes that bear his name. He has dominated shoe design since setting up in business in London in the early 1970s.
Graphic Designer (1925-1970)
Combining audacious imagery with ingenious typography, illustration and found objects, ROBERT BROWNJOHN (1925-1970) was among the most innovative graphic designers in 1950s New York and 1960s London, where he designed titles for James Bond films, graphics for the Robert Fraser Gallery and artwork for the Rolling Stones.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Design Engineer (1806-1859)
One of the great British engineers of the 19th century ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL (1806-1859) built twenty-five railways lines, over a hundred bridges, including five suspension bridges, eight pier and dock systems, three ships and a pre-fabricated army field hospital.
Product Designer (1972-)
From the MIKRO series of fold-up sculptures to his electroluminesent tables and clocks, the work of the British product designer SAM BUXTON is dominated by his experiments with advanced materials and technologies.
Typography Designer (1937-)
The most important typography designer of our time, MATTHEW CARTER (1937-) is one of the few designers whose work is used by millions of people every day. Having devoted the first half of his career to typefaces for use in print, such as Miller and Bell Centennial, he then pioneered the design of fonts for use on screen, notably Verdana for Microsoft.
Fashion Designer (1970 – )
Hussein Chalayan is one of the most visionary designers working in fashion today. His first UK retrospective From fashion and back currently showing at the Design Museum, illustrates his innovative use of materials, meticulous pattern cutting and a progressive attitude to new technology.
Aircraft and product designer (1928- )
LUIGI COLANI is one the great mavericks of 20th century design with an independent spirit, a flair for showmanship and a willingness to engage the wider public that has kept him outside the design mainstream. With a background in car styling and aerodynamics, Colani has pursued an interest in imagining a world that does not yet exist – one of utopian architecture, high performance cars and huge supersonic aircraft flying many times the speed of sound and.
Product + Furniture Designer (1930-1971)
In his brief but brilliant career, JOE COLOMBO (1930-1971) produced a series of innovations which made him one of Italy’s most influential Italian product designers. From the Universale, the first chair to be moulded from one material, to the all-in-one Boby Trolley, everything Colombo created was intended for “the environment of the future”.
JOSHUA DAVIS pioneered web design in the early 1990s and is now a master of the medium through his commercial work for Kioken in New York and experimental projects such as PrayStation for which he won the Prix Ars Electronica 2001, the prestigious digital art prize.
Fashion Designer (1905-1957)
The most influential fashion designer of the late 1940s and 1950s, CHRISTIAN DIOR (1905 to 1957) dominated fashion after World war II with the hourglass silhouette of his voluptuous New Look. He also defined a new business model in the post-war fashion industry by establishing Dior as a global brand across a wide range of products.
Furniture Designer (1959-)
Both as a self-taught designer-maker in early 1980s London and as head of design at the Habitat retail chain and now Artek, the Finnish furniture manufacturer, TOM DIXON (1959-) has combined the creative with the commercial throughout his career.
Fashion Designer (1960-)
JOHN GALLIANO (1960-) is one of the most influential fashion designers of our time. Born in Gibraltar, he grew up in London and launched his own label before becoming chief designer of France’s haute couture flagship, Christian Dior, in Paris.
Architect (1935- )
NORMAN FOSTER is an architectural phenomenon; responsible for a dozen or more of the key buildings of the last 30 years, but also as the founder of perhaps the most financially successful architectural practice of modern times.
Architect + Furniture Designer (1878-1976)
Neglected for most of her career, EILEEN GRAY (1878-1976) is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential woman in those fields. Her work inspired both modernism and Art Deco.
Product + Graphic Designer (1964-)
Dedicated to inventing “brilliantly simple ideas of a curious seriousness”, MARTI GUIXE divides his time between his native Barcelona and Berlin. Dubbing himself an “ex-designer”, he designs products for Authentics and shoe shops for Camper as well as conceptual projects.
The first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in its 26 year history, ZAHA HADID (1950-) has defined a radically new approach to architecture by creating buildings, such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, with multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life.
Automotive Designer (1906-1988)
One of the most original car designers of the modern era, ALEC ISSIGONIS (1906-1988) is best known as the creator of the Mini, but also designed two more of the five best-selling cars in British motoring history – the Morris Minor and the Austin 1100.
Architect + Furniture Designer (1902-1971)
ARNE JACOBSEN (1902-1971) was one of Denmark’s most influential 20th century architects and designers. Both his buildings and products, like his Swan and Egg Chairs, combine modernist ideals with a Nordic love of naturalism.
Product + Furniture Designer (1963-)
As a product designer and a curator, MICHAEL MARRIOTT (1963-) explores the influence of objects, and the way they are constructed, on our daily lives. His goal is to design “truly modern objects” through “the honest and appropriate use of material, process and function”.
Product Designer (1967-)
The winner of the Design Museum’s inaugural Designer of the Year award in 2003 was JONATHAN IVE (1967-), senior vice-president of design at Apple whose innovations include the iPod and iMac.
Industrial/Product Designer (1958 -)
Highly experimental and with a commitment to transcending the boundaries between science, technology, design and architecture, ROSS LOVEGROVE considers himself more ‘evolutionary biologist’ than designer.
Fashion Designer (1969- )
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN (1969- ) burst onto the fashion stage in 1992, courting controversy as headlines hailed him as the new enfant terrible. Though contentious and frequently misunderstood, he established the fashion label that is now internationally acclaimed and coveted without compromising his approach.
Product + Furniture Designer (1959-)
JASPER MORRISON is one of today’s most influential industrial designers. Born in London, he is renowned for his ascetically elegant, quietly humorous style and has designed everything from a tray-table to a tram system.
Product + Furniture Designer (1963-)
MARC NEWSON (1963-) is known for his funkily futuristic, but technically rigorous approach to design. Born in Sydney, he has worked from studios in Tokyo, Paris and, now, London, to design everything from a private jet to a Ford car.
Designer + Sculptor (1904-1988)
ISAMU NOGUCHI (1904-1988) was an American-Japanese designer who originally trained as a sculptor and brought a sculptural sensibility to everything he created: lighting, furniture, gardens and stage sets.
Cutlery Designer + Manufacturer (1930-)
Combining the roles of designer, manufacturer, craftsman and retailer DAVID MELLOR (1930-) steered a unique position in late 20th century British design. Renowned as a designer and maker of cutlery, Mellor has also designed furniture, tools, ecclesiastical silver, traffic lights and a post box.
Dressmaker (1928 – 1995)
Legendary dressmaker JEAN ELIZABETH MUIR (1928 – 1995) made clothes that were both radical and classic, breaking the barrier between couture and ready-to-wear. The self-taught Muir made her name in the 1960s, creating a reputation for exquisitely tailored, timeless, feminine clothing. She has been hailed as the greatest dressmaker in the world, in a league with Madame Grès, Chanel and Vionnet.
Artist and designer
Chris O’Shea creates interactive work for both public institutions and private companies. In 2005 he was awarded First Class Honours in BSc MediaLab Arts at the University of Plymouth. Since then he has created work at AllofUs for Tate Britain, Onedotzero (at V&A Museum) and THEpUBLIC, at Moving Brands for the Muon launch in Milan and Ico Design for the Wellcome Collection. In 2006 he was the guest curator of the Cybersonica exhibition. He regularly writes on Pixelsumo and is one of the founding member of the event series, This happened.
Furniture Designer (1913-1964)
Textile and furniture designer, manufacturer, retailer – was one of the most inventive and challenging exponents of mid-century British design. Race’s highly personal design vocabulary, at it’s height in the immediate post-war period and at the Festival of Britain of 1951, was a fluid, skilled, and at times eccentric synthesis of Modernism with Victoriana, and of mass-production with intelligent improvisation. Race’s single most important contribution to modern furniture design was his articulation of the transition from the theoretical rigour of pre-war Modernism to the accessibility and optimism of post-war Contemporary.
Industrial Designer (1932-)
As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, DIETER RAMS (1932-) emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Architect + Furniture Designer (1868-1928)
Combining a progressive modernity with the spirit of romanticism, the Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) created many of the best loved and most influential buildings, furniture and decorative schemes of the early 20th century.
One of the most influential British architects of our time, RICHARD ROGERS (1933-) has established himself and his practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, at the forefront of today’s architecture industry through such high-profile projects as the Pompidou Centre, the headquarters for Lloyds of London, the Millennium Dome, and Madrid Barajas Airport.
Product Designer (1968-)
JERSZY SEYMOUR (1968-) is a product and furniture designer whose work combines a raunchy humour with innovative use of materials. Born in Berlin, Seymour grew up mostly in London, but has lived and worked in Milan since 1999.
Graphic Designer (1955-)
Ever since his first work for the fledgeling Factory Records in the late 1970s, PETER SAVILLE has been a pivotal figure in graphic design and style culture. In fashion and art projects as well as in music, his work combines an unerring elegance with a remarkable ability to identify images that epitomise the moment.
Graphic Designer (1962-)
STEFAN SAGMEISTER (1962-) is among today’s most important graphic designers. Born in Austria, he now lives and works in New York. His long-standing collaborators include the AIGA and musicians, David Byrne and Lou Reed.
Product Designer (1979- )
London-based designer ED SWAN creates ephemeral lighting effects that alter spatial perceptions. Inspired by an interest in camera obscuras, ancient image-making devices, Swan utilises these optical principals with an innovative use of materials to produce illusionary projections.
Product Designer (1984–)
Richard Sweeney’s Folding Light series blurs the boundaries of design, art and craft. Combining artisan techniques with complex problem solving skills, Sweeney creates lighting designs based on unique sculptural forms.
Hat Designer (1967-)
Surreal and sculptural, PHILIP TREACY’s (1967-) hand-made hats are feats of craftsmanship. Born in rural Ireland, Treacy designs haute couture and ready-to-wear hat collections from his London studio. He has also created hats for the couture collections of Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and Alexander McQueen.
Furniture Designer (1926-1998)
VERNER PANTON (1926-1998) was a master of the fluid, futuristic style of 1960s design which introduced the Pop aesthetic to furniture and interiors. Born in Denmark, he made his name there before settling in Switzerland in the 1960s.
Map Designer (1906-1996)
Working eighteen hours a day to walk 3,000 miles of London’s streets, the artist PHYLLIS PEARSALL (1906-1996) not only conceived, designed and produced the A-Z street atlas of London, but founded her own company to publish it. The A-Z remains one of the most ingenious examples of early 20th century information design.
Fashion Designer (1941-)
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD (1941-) personifies the potent and subversive originality of British fashion. Her continual exploration and reinterpretation of history, combined with a tireless individualism, has cemented her reputation as the UK’s most culturally significant fashion designer.
Theatre Director + Designer
ROBERT WILSON is a theatre director, artist and designer who fuses sound, image, text and movement to create extraordinarily evocative stage sets, exhibitions and installations. He is based in New York and Long Island.
Industrial/Product Designer (1976- )
The work of British product designer BEN WILSON embodies a passion for bikes, skateboards and machinery. Wilson’s design aesthetic is imbued with a deep understanding of street culture and its inherent language. His work communicates a vibrant energy and his client list reflects this active nature including global brands such as Levis, Nike, Adidas, Stussy, Artemide and Audi.
Interactive Designer (1977-)
Focusing on large scale and tactile interactive experiences that engross and envelope the visitor, Philip Worthington (1977-) created Shadow Monsters, a digital version of the traditional shadow puppet, as part of his degree in Interaction Design from the Royal College of Art.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Believing that “the space within that building is the reality of that building”, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (1867-1959) was one of the most prolific and influential architects of the 20th century. From his early Prairie Style homes, to the sculptural curves of the Guggenheim Museum in New York he defined a North American style of architecture which was rich in emotion and sensitive to its surroundings.
Product Designer (1966-)
MICHAEL YOUNG (1966-)is a British-born designer who works from studios in Brussels and Reykjavik to create technically rigorous, but always humorous products and furniture.
Product Designer (1973-)
One of the new generation of British product designers for whom narrative is an increasingly important element in their work, PASCAL ANSON (1973-) combines industrial production and improvisation to create products and furniture that tell a story while fulfilling their function.
Product + Furniture Designer (1969-)
By experimenting with advanced design and production technologies, the Israeli-born, London-based designer Assa Ashuach (1969-) redefines both the form and function of everyday products and furniture, while developing a surreal new design aesthetic.
LUIS BARRAGAN (1902-1988) was one of Mexico’s most influential 20th century architects. Famed for his mastery of space and light, he reinvented the International Style as a colourful, sensuous genre of Mexican modernism.
Furniture Designer (1971-)
By experimenting with industrial materials and processes, MATHIAS BENGTSSON, the Danish-born, London-based furniture designer produces sculptural furniture which is visually arresting and technically innovative.
Product + Furniture Designer (1966-)
Working from Bologna and London, SEBASTIAN BERGNE designs products for companies such as Authentics, Habitat and Vitra which address the changes in our daily lives but in a gentle, unobtrusive way.
Automotive Designer (1903-1964)
One of the 20th century’s most gifted automotive designers, FLAMINIO BERTONI (1903-1964) was responsible for designing the bodywork of such classic – and stylistically diverse – cars as the elegant Traction Avant, supremely functional 2 CV and alluring DS 19.
Graphic Designer (1934-)
As a child, DEREK BIRDSALL (1934-) loved stationery shops: infinite stacks and reams of paper, pads, notebooks and ledgers; instruments for writing, duplicating and erasing; virgin ink and paper in endless configurations of possibility. He speculates that this feeling was inherited from his grandfather, a clerk in a chemical works, and by Birdsall’s admission, a fountain-pen fetishist.
Book Designer (1960-)
Many of the most beautiful books to have been designed in recent years are the work of IRMA BOOM. Born in Lochem, the Netherlands in 1960, Boom has won international acclaim for the iconoclastic beauty of her books.
Product Designer (1968-)
Working on the cusp of design and craft, TORD BOONTJE, the Dutch-born, London-based product designer combines advanced technologies with artisanal techniques to create exquisite glassware, lighting and furniture.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Inventor, Designer, Architect, Theorist (1895-1983)
Driven by the design philosophy of “more for less”, RICHARD BUCKMINSTER FULLER (1895-1983) worked simultaneously on plans for houses, cars, boats, games, television transmitters and geodesic domes, all of which were designed to be mass-produced using the simplest and most sustainable means possible.
Product + Furniture Designer (1918-2002)
One of the most important industrial designers of the 20th century, ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI (1918-2002) produced more than 150 products during his career and forged enduring relationships with Italian manufacturers such as Flos in lighting, Zanotta in furniture and Alessi in home products.
Architect + Industrial Designer (1895-1958)
One of the pioneers of the emergence of the modern movement in British architecture and design during the 1930s, Wells Coates (1895-1958) also developed innovative approaches to housing design, notably in Lawn Road flats, as well as electrical products, broadcasting studios and yachts.
Industrial Designer (1834-1904)
Among the first independent industrial designers, CHRISTOPHER DRESSER (1834-1904) championed design reform in 19th century Britain while embracing modern manufacturing in the development of wallpaper, textiles, ceramics, glass, furniture and metalware.
In her of objects and spaces, the French designer MATALI CRASSET encourages us to question the way we go about our daily lives. Born in 1965, Crasset worked for Philippe Starck for five years before opening her own studio in Paris.
Graphic Designer (1931-2006)
Synthesising the graphic traditions of Europe and North America to develop a spirited, witty and very personal visual style, ALAN FLETCHER is among the most influential figures in British graphic design as a founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s and Pentagram in the 1970s.
Graphic Designer (1914-1996)
Some of the most memorable graphic images of mid-20th century Britain were the work of the designer ABRAM GAMES (1914-1996). As an Official War Artist during World War II, he designed over a hundred posters and later created the symbols of the BBC and the Festival of Britain.
Giles Gilbert Scott
A bastion of the architectural establishment in early 20th century Britain, GILES GILBERT SCOTT (1880-1960) fused tradition with modernity by applying historic styles to industrial structures in his designs from the Battersea and Bankside power stations in London, to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and to the K2 telephone kiosk.
An influential figure in the British modern movement, ERNÖ GOLDFINGER (1902-1987) was born in Budapest and studied architecture in Paris. After moving to London in 1934, he won praise for austere, yet sensitive projects, notably his Hampstead home, and drew controversy for ambitious schemes at Elephant and Castle and Poplar.
Product Designer (1965-)
By ‘defining function in human terms’ the German designer KONSTANTIN GRCIC (1965-) has developed a design language that combines formal rigour with subtle humour in the design products and furniture for manufacturers such as Authentics, Flos, Krups and Magis.
Designer (1970 -)
One-part architecture, another-part product design, with an equal dash of sculpture and urban planning, Thomas Heatherwick’s body of work defies definition. The London-based designer has completed nearly 200 projects since establishing his studio in the mid-nineties, and with each new commission, merges engineering and design to give his projects a magical, transformative feel.
Wel well well now we have taken all your suggestions and put together another round up with Another 30 Designers that changed the world. Check it out and feel free to add more suggestions.