Excess was hounded into hiding by negative equity as recession returned. Boom was back by the middle of the decade as the nation rode on a wave of acid house and Britpop. And the digital age got properly underway thanks to increasingly powerful desktop PCs and easy access to the internet.
The Prize cast its net wide across the disciplines, honouring lifetime contributions across product design, engineering, graphics and architecture, underlining the broad strength of UK design as the industry gained in influence and prestige.1989
WTC Aircrafter Cutting Torch
Wilson had a varied career with British Rail, the Merchant Navy and De Havilland before setting up the Welding Torch Company. The Aircrafter brought portability to a type of welding that could normally only be performed as part of mechanised processes.1990
Weaver’s product design portfolio is incredibly diverse. After getting his start designing furniture for Terence Conran’s Habitat and working alongside Kenneth Grange at Pentagram, his career has taken him from bank dealing rooms to aircraft interiors and included commissions from pens and lighters to hi-tech equipment.1991
As chief design engineer at Rolls Royce, Cundy was responsible for the RB211- 535E4 engine that from 1984 set new standards for low noise, reliability and fuel efficiency in 80% of all Boeing 757s.
So reliable is the engine that it runs up 20,000 flying hours on average before its first maintenance stop.1992
Crisp’s unique portfolio ran the gamut from the ten million-selling Ever Ready front-facing cycle lamp to a fallout shelter, a wall-mounted kettle and the Micralite Fastfold stroller. As much an inventor as a stylist, his ingenuity attracted clients including ITT, British Telecom and GEC.1993
Fletcher pioneered a highly personal and witty form of graphic design whose precision and irreverence remained in constant demand for some five decades.
His style, rooted in his training as an artist and drawing on both European and American sensibilities, may have been individual and ahead of its time but it attracted clients on both sides of the Atlantic including the V&A, Reuters, Herman Miller, Fortune magazine, the Institute of Directors, Olivetti, Lloyds of London, Penguin and Pirelli.
He helped establish the model for modern graphic design consultancies in the early 1960s by co-founding Fletcher/Forbes/Gill, which in 1972 became Pentagram.1994
Sir Michael Hopkins CBE
Sir Michael and his wife Patricia have run a successful practice since the mid-70s.
Work progressed from industrial projects like Schlumberger Research’s labs in Cambridge to the opera house at Glyndebourne and the Mound Stand at Lord’s cricket ground, which exhibited a flair for blending old and new, and Portcullis House, which combined striking style with sustainability.1997
Sir James Dyson
Dyson toiled tenaciously against indifference to realise a disruptive idea — a bagless vacuum cleaner that outsucked the rest.
To reach the UK market he had to manufacture the DC01 himself, using royalties from an earlier Japanese-produced version and finally launching in 1993 after 5,000 prototypes.
Crucially, Dyson matched the inventor’s relentless exploration of new ideas and engineering with ingenious and distinctive design.
The result? The DC01 became the UK’s best seller in 22 months, Dyson became the leading vacuum brand in the US and Dyson products have run up sales of $10bn and counting.1998
Lambie-Nairn made his mark with broadcast identity designs including the ground-breaking multi-coloured Channel 4 brand, the playful BBC2 programme ‘buffers’ which redefined the channel’s personality in the 90s and BBC1’s red balloon. Earlier credits include the graphics for ITV’s Weekend World. Lambie-Nairn’s branding agency handles clients including O2, FIFA and Sainsbury’s.