Universal Design

This digital exhibit explores the careers of industrial designers Thomas Lamb and Marc Harrison and illustrates the ways in which their work helped to set the stage for Universal Design. Included are a selection of approximately 350 items digitized from the Lamb and Harrison collections at the Hagley Museum and Library. Hagley holds a number of significant 20th century design collections.

What is Universal Design?

First used in the 1980s, Universal Design is defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable to the greatest extent possible by people of all ages and abilities." The origins of Universal Design can be traced to the rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies that were developed during World War II to meet the needs of veterans with disabilities. In the following decades, the barrier-free movement was successful in influencing legislation that removed physical barriers in the environment.

To learn more about Lamb, Harrison, or Hagley's design collections, contact the Manuscript and Archives Department at askhagley@hagley.org.