Permanent Collection Free display

Designer Maker User

A free exhibition introducing part of our collection, looking at the development of modern design through these three interconnected roles.

What to expect

Designer Maker User features almost 1000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design viewed through the angles of the designer, manufacturer and user, including a crowdsourced wall.

The free display covers a broad range of design disciplines, from architecture and engineering to the digital world, fashion and graphics.

Share your favourite designs with @designmuseum using the hashtag #DesignerMakerUser

Booking information

Free display
Designer Maker User is free to enter. No pre-booking is needed.

This is a family-friendly exhibition and includes activities for young explorers to use when in the museum. More information below with a link to download the trail.

Opening times
10:00 – 17:00 Monday to Thursday
10:00 – 18:00 Friday to Sunday
Please note that the gallery space starts closing 15 minutess before the building closes.
Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The new Design Museum welcomes schools, colleges and universities for self-guided visits to all exhibitions. Visit the Schools page for more information.

The recommended time for viewing this exhibition is 1 hour.

Family resources

Family Explorer Trail

Visiting today? Check out our printable Family Explorer Trail booklet to engage your young creatives whilst experiencing the permanent collection. Suitable for children 6-10 years old - all they need is a pencil.

Audio: Tips from Kids

Explore our collection display with new eyes. Tips from Kids is our new audio feature available on the Bloomberg Connects app. Organised in partnership with students from Kingston University’s MA Curating Contemporary Design programme, the audio guide presents objects in the display through the lens of a group of Year 1 children aged 5 and 6 years. Their lively discussions give fresh insights into the three topics in the exhibition – Transportation, Technology and Fashion. Bring your own headphones to enjoy!

The app is free to access and you can connect with the museum's free guest wi-fi during your visit.

Download Bloomberg Connects app.


The ‘Designer’ segment of the exhibition is based on the phrase by the Italian architect Ernesto Rogers: from the spoon to the city. It explores the ways in which the thought-process of the designer informs projects at every scale, from the smallest to the largest. David Mellor's traffic light, Kinneir and Calvert's British road signage system and a 1:1 scale prototype for the new London tube train designed by PriestmanGoode will be on show.

British Road sign by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert

Moulton AM2 bicycle, Dr. Alex Moulton

Foldable London Underground Tube Map, 1933, Harry Beck

Anglepoise lamp by George Cawardine


In the ‘Maker’ section, the exhibition traces the evolution of manufacturing, from Thonet bentwood cafe chairs and Model T Ford cars to robotic arms, mass customisation and 3D printing. Everyday objects such as tennis balls as well as notable designs including the London 2012 Olympic Torch are presented at different stages of production.

Mould for the no. 14 chair by Gebrüder Thonet

Shoe Lasts, Carreducker. Photo credit John Adrian

Splint, Ray and Charles Eames

Olympic Torch by BarberOsgerby


A display on the ‘User’ explores the interaction between people and brands that have come to define the modern world. Features include a vinyl player from Dieter Rams, landmark pieces from Sony including the Walkman and the Minidisc, the Apple iPhone and the Olivetti Valentine typewriter; all demonstrating how design has changed how we communicate.

Vespa Clubman (1946), Corradino d'Ascanio, Piaggio

Valentine Typewriter by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King

Phonosuper SK5 record player (1956), Hans Gugelot and Dieter Rams, Braun A.G.

Xbox controller by Microsoft

meet Zaha Hadid Architects

meet studio myerscough

The making of Designer Maker User

Image | Courtesy of Studio Myerscough

The making of Designer Maker User

Image | Courtesy of Studio Myerscough

The making of Designer Maker User

Image | Courtesy of Studio Myerscough

The making of Designer Maker User

Image | Courtesy of Studio Myerscough

Crowdsourced Wall

Your favourite things

As part of Designer Maker User, almost 500 of you suggested your most important objects to be featured at the entrance of the exhibition. Consisting of more than 200 nominated objects from 25 countries, the wall displays a diverse selection that demonstrates the intimate relationships that we have with the everyday objects that shape our lives. Items on show include a Bible, a Coca-Cola can, the £5 banknote, a pair of rubber gloves, and a plastic garden chair.

Enjoy your visit

Self-guided visit for learning groups

The new Design Museum welcomes schools, colleges and universities for self-guided visits to all exhibitions. Here is everything you need to know to plan and book an inspiring self-guided visit to the museum.

Plan your visit

The Design Museum is now open in its spectacular new location on High Street Kensington.

Background image by Gareth Gardner. Designer Maker User graphic wall designed by Studio Myerscough.