Competition: five copies of The Genius of Design to be won

We've got together with publishers Quadrille to offer our readers the chance to win one of five copies of The Genius of Design by Penny Sparke, the official companion to a BBC television series due for transmission in May.

The colour-illustrated book covers the history of design and its influences through the decades, the evolution of design archetypes and iconic designs and designers.

This competition is now closed.

Five winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Winners’ names will be published in a future edition of our Dezeenmail newsletter and at the bottom of this page. Dezeen competitions are international and entries are accepted from readers in any country.

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Here are more details from the publisher:

The Genius of Design
by Penny Sparke

The official tie-in to the major 5-part BBC2 television series of the same name.

Price £25.00

This landmark book takes a unique, original and engrossing approach to design. Whether or not we are consciously interested in it, design is omnipresent; it affects and influences us all in every aspect of our lives. The Genius of Design illuminates what design is, how it works, and how it has shaped the world we live in.

Taking a broadly chronological approach, the book shows how the story of design has developed and explores major themes, with chapters including the birth of mass-produced design, domestic design and the contemporary home and the legacy of wartime design. The book shows how design reflects the political, cultural and economic themes of our times, how it connects both to the macro forces of history (industrialisation, consumerism, technology) and the micro forces (taste, money, desire) and how it manifests itself everywhere, from battlefield and boardroom to supermarket and schoolroom.

More than anything, though, the book tells the stories that lie behind the iconic designs of our times. It tells how the first fitted kitchen was based on the principles behind the Ford production line, how wartime research ultimately led to the biro, latex condoms and aviator sunglasses. It celebrates the heroes of design and the lesser know people responsible for some of the everyday objects we take for granted.

And it examines the role of the consumer and the issues of taste – what really is good or bad design? Provocative, absorbing and packed with images, this enthralling book reveals what design means to us – the trivial and the mundane, the life-saving and the world-changing.

About The Author

Penny Sparke, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Kingston University, has taught the History of Design over the last thirty years at Brighton Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. She has also lectured, curated exhibitions, broadcast and published books including An Introduction to Design and Culture in the Twentieth Century, Design in Context, As Long As It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste and, most recently, The Modern Interior. Professor Sparke has represented the History of Design on the Arts and Humanities Research Council; she is a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Fellow of the Society of Arts.

The Genius of Design by Penny Sparke, published by Quadrille, £19.99 – BBC Two series of same name commencing 7pm on Friday 7th May.


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Congratulations to our winners! Omar Jaramillo in Italy, Jung-Soo Choi in the USA, Markus Weck in Germany, Jordi Milà Jansà in Spain and David Yorke in the UK.