Science, Maths & Technology
  • Activity
  • 15 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

Design in a nutshell

Updated Wednesday 8th May 2013

Get the lowdown on 6 key design movements and share your design alter-ego

  Design in a nutshell image 1100 768 Find your design alter-ego

Want to learn about six of the most important movements in design history? Watch short videos on:

  • Gothic Revival
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Bauhaus
  • Modernism
  • American Industrial Design
  • Postmodernism

Are you a bit postmodern, or do you belong in the Bauhaus? Watch the videos then take the test to discover your design alter-ego before sharing it with your friends.

Ready to dig deeper into design? Try this study unit with 10 hours of free learning about design thinking.

NB: For best results, use a modern web browser. Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or try a free alternative like Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. 


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Terminal Cities Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC audio icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Terminal Cities

Everyone wants to be able to go everywhere, but no-one wants the Terminal City near them. Simon Bell discusses the paradox of modern air travel.

10 mins
Invention and innovation: An introduction Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Invention and innovation: An introduction

This free course, Invention and innovation: An introduction, is for designers, engineers, technologists and anyone interested in designing and inventing. It is also for managers and consumers interested in innovation and technical change. The course will show you how design and innovation can create a more sustainable future. It will also help you understand how innovation comes about and will encourage thinking about environmental and social challenges for the future.

Free course
55 hrs
Project Fear: Fear is coming Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Simon Bell, Charles Cutting & The Open University activity icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Project Fear: Fear is coming

An uncertain world. Can systems thinking free us from fear? Simon Bell & Charles Cutting's graphic novel asks the question.

Are robots about to take jobs from the poor? Creative commons image Icon Steve Jurvetson under Creative Commons BY 4.0 license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Are robots about to take jobs from the poor?

A new generation of robots could be expanding their career options - and that could be catastrophic news for the poorest in the world, says Aisling Irwin.

People-centred designing Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 1 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

People-centred designing

Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. This free course, People-centred designing, focuses firmly on usability and the increasingly important phenomenon of people-centred design. It aims to inform consumers of design (i.e., all of us) about this crucial characteristic of design. In addition to stimulating interest in areas of concern for producers of design, the course might also provide an introduction to engineering, manufacturing and business studies.

Free course
12 hrs
DIY animation Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

DIY animation

The 15th September 2009 edition of Digital Planet looked at Kenya's growing animation industry. Here we explain how you can try your hand at animation from the comfort of your computer.

5 mins

Science, Maths & Technology 

Design Essentials: are you sitting comfortably?

Theo Zamenopoulos, of the OU design faculty, offers a glimpse into the ideological and historical context of design ideas and principles. With Emma Curtis, curator of the Design Museum, and Nathaniel Hepburn, curator of the Mascalls Art Gallery, Theo looks at the key ideas that emerged as the driving force behind design using specific examples from the history of chair design. This material forms part of The Open University course T217 Design Essentials.

30 mins
Why do some cities thrive? Creative commons image Icon Scorpions and Centaurs under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Why do some cities thrive?

Milton Keynes, home of The Open University, has grown successfully as a city - while other places have failed to thrive. New research is hoping to find out why.

What makes a great school? Water Hall Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

What makes a great school? Water Hall

The rebuilt Water Hall School in Milton Keynes has found favour with the people who have to use it every day - the pupils. They shared with us how great design was helping their education.

5 mins