July 25, 2012

Signing Your Work

Last week I was pointed at this blog post about the work of Tayler and Green. Tayler and Green were two architects who upped sticks from London to move to Norfolk in the late 1940s and ended up developing their own slant on modernism, much more grounded in traditional housing through an ongoing relationship and work for one of the district councils there.

There's lots of interest about architecture and place-making in there, but the bit that prompted this blog post was this section...

a plaque from one of the buildings, inscribed with 'Davy Place, for Loddon R.D.C.  Architects Tayler and Green...'

"For unassuming types there's a lot of branding on T&G's work. Their name pops up a lot, not just on formal plaques but carved into special bricks or inserted subtly into a decorative wall, as if they were making it easy for architectural pilgrims to seek out. Despite the seeming modesty of their designs, the architects were very aware of its quality."

It reminded me of one of my favourite parts of shipping products - the fact that there are then things out in the world that you were part of. I first encountered it in visits to Halfords in the the mid-90s, where their point-of-sale tills were running code from my time at RTC; then even more so with Psion Series 5s, or any of the Sony mobile phones from the late 90s, which contained chunks of code that I, and the team around me, had spent months and years developing. There was always some little indication to those in the know that we were involved and these days, where possible, it's literally etched into the back of anything to leave the MCQN Ltd studio...

Picture of one of my products, etched with 'Made in Liverpool, UK by MCQN Ltd.'

It's not a new idea - the case of the original Apple Macintosh famously includes the signatures of the team who designed it, and I'm sure the engines of Bentleys used to have a plaque with the name of the person who built it - though I can't find a reference for that right now.

That's beside the point, I just wonder if the world would be a better place if more people were more willing to sign their work. Wouldn't we end up with better quality work, and less "ooh, that's terrible, I had no idea other parts of the company were [insert dubious or illegal practice here]..."?

Posted by Adrian at July 25, 2012 08:20 PM | TrackBack

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