Design Research Unit

Timeless marks by the Design Research Unit (DRU), Britain’s first consultancy to draw together expertise in architecture, graphics, and industrial design.

Ilford logo, Design Research UnitIlford Limited (photographic materials), 1966.

Design Research Unit bookSpread from the Design Research Unit monograph by Michelle Cotton.

The DRU was founded in 1943 by advertising entrepreneur Marcus Brumwell, architect Misha Black, and graphic designer Milner Gray. One of the firm’s founding documents claims, “Like every aspect of modern industry, design should be a co-operative activity.”

Tarmac seven ts logo, Design Research UnitTarmac (the seven t’s logo), 1964.

British Rail logo, Design Research UnitBritish Rail (double arrow), 1965.

Design Research Unit book

ICI logo, Design Research UnitICI, refined from the original 1965 design (below).

Design Research Unit book

Design Research Unit monograph coverThe agency’s manifesto on the cover of Michelle Cotton’s monograph.

The firm was acquired by architectural practice Scott Brownrigg in 2004.

More reading:
Design Research Unit: the firm that branded Britain, on The Guardian.
DRU, on Wikipedia.


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