Design Week quiz: a look back through the ages

Have you been paying attention for the last four decades? Only one way to find out.

A little festive fluff here to take the edge off the news of Design Week’s closure, with a look back at the publication over the years. No prizes for doing well, except perhaps for a sense of achievement, or being able to look busy at work while you’re counting down the minutes until the Christmas holidays begin. Answers at the bottom of the page. Pen and paper at the ready!


1. Who was Design Week’s very first editor?

a. Jeremy Myerson

b. Jeremy Lesley

c. Jeremy Fisher

d. Jeremy Bentham

2. A Design Week award once featured in the pilot episode of a famous 1990s TV comedy. Which was it?

a. Father Ted

b. Brass Eye

c. The Fast Show

d. Ab Fab

The Breeders - POD
Vaughan Oliver’s design for Pod by The Breeders (1990).

3. Graphic designer Vaughan Oliver is best known for his work with record label 4AD, designing record sleeves for the likes of Pixies, Lush, Cocteau Twins, and The Breeders. In a piece about him in 1997, Design Week described him as “the man who____”. Fill in the blank…

a. Danced with skinned eels tied round his waist 

b. Sold the world

c. Became the fifth member of The Pixies

d. Says he’s inspired only by ghosts

4. We ran a headline in 1995 that claimed “___ not due to the designers”. Fill in the blank…

a. Rumbelows store closures

b. Fred Perry death

c. Misleading packaging

d. QE2 delays

5. In 2021, a Design Week story about an unusual, slightly Biblical sounding project went viral. What was it?

a. A sustainably fabricated ark, in response to global tsunamis

b. A humanoid AI-powered robot that can ‘resurrect’ deceased loved ones 

c. A device that turns half a litre of salt water into 45 days of light

d. A self-contained farm prototype to breed edible crickets ‘ad infinitum’

6.Typographer and graphic designer Sarah Hyndman once told Design Week that “____ is the anti-Helvetica”. Fill in the blank…

a. Punk

b. Paula Scher

c. Open-source type platforms

d. Dingbats

7. Which famous movie director once wrote a very strongly worded email to then-editor Angus Montgomery, complaining about a mention of the designer he’d previously collaborated with?

a. Vincent Gallo

b. Gaspar Noe

c. Lars Von Trier

d. Spike Jonze

8. In 1995, Design Week reported on Project 2045, which saw the Design Council send out 2,000 time-capsules to design industry figures and organisations  to predict the “designs of the future”. What form did the capsules take?

a. VHS video


c. A “futuristic” plastic box in the shape of a rocket

d. MicroFiche

9. Design Week launched in 1986, but in which month?

a. December

b. June

c. October

d. March

10. A copy/copies of Design Week are not held in which one of these institutions’/libraries’ collections?

a. The British Library, London

b.  Kalamazoo College, Michigan

c. Transylvania University, Kentucky

d. Natural History Museum, London

11. In which year did Design Week cease its print publication and go online-only?

a. 2009

b. 1997

c. 2019

d. 2011

12. The Design Week editorial team has had an unofficial otter mascot for the past decade or so. But what’s his name?

a. Jonny Ottern

b. Tarka

c. Barney Bubbles

d. Nutkins

Design Week’s 2011 Hot 50

13. Which then-emergent pop icon featured In Design Week’s Hot 50?

a. Lana Del Rey

b. Lady Gaga

c. Florence Welch

d. Nicki Minaj

14. In January 2000, a reader wrote in with a prediction for the new millennium. What did he reckon would be “the end of supermarkets”?

a. The World Wide Web

b. Teenagers

c. Bad lighting

d. Sofa shopping

15. Mercier Gray, a marketing company specialising in design, also had something to say as we welcomed in the year y2k. It launched an attack on what?

a. ‘Mediocre carpets’

b. Designers over 50

c. ‘All Y-fronts’

d. Pink designs ‘for women’

16. In May 2008, our voxpop was themed around Boris Johnson becoming Mayor of London. What did Wolff Olins’ Michael Wolff suggest Johnson should do in order to build on Ken Livingstone’s work with the capital’s creative industries?

a. Realise that sometimes feet are better than bicycles for travelling round London

b. Collaborate with Blur, as Livingstone did on Ernold Same

c. Put graphic design on Trafalgar Squares Fourth Plinth

d. Resign

17. Back in 1999, Phaidon published a book about the work of Paul Rand, who’d died three years previously. New York art director George Lois wrote in the foreword: “Every art director and graphic designer in the world should___.” Fill in the blank…

a. Give up now

b. Take a long hard look at themselves

c. Kiss his ass

d. Aspire towards their very own IBM logo

18. Above is an image of a copy of Design Week from 2010. What word is the smiley concealing?

a. Finger

b. Image

c. House

d. Dead

19. What did WPP founder Martin Sorrell predict for the creative industries in 2005?

a. A boom in kinetic logos

b. A shower

c. Widespread gloom

d. A revolution

20. Design Week editor Tom Banks cut his teeth as a journalist on many publications. One memorable work experience placement saw him work at a title focusing on which niche topic?

a. Loft insulation

b. Waterbirds of the British Isles

c. MiniDiscs

d. Potatoes


How did you do? Answers below


  1.     The answer is a, Jeremy Myerson
  2.     That was b, Brass Eye. Skip to 19.57 on this video to see the DW award in all its glory, having been won by a spider
  3.     Naturally, it’s a, danced with skinned eels tied round his waist (read it here)
  4.     d, the QE2 delays (though Rumbelows did close around 300 stores that year, and Fred Perry did really die in 1995, aged 85.)
  5.     c, the Water Light
  6.     the answer is a, punk
  7.     It was a, Buffalo ’66 director Vincent Gallo, who wasn’t happy about a piece that mentioned his name since he insists that we all think he does ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING himself.
  8.     b, the timeless CD-ROM
  9.     it was c, October, making DW likely a Libra, possibly a Scorpio (our balanced, newsy tone of voice would imply Libra but we’re not 100% sure)
  10. sorry, that’s a trick question – DW has found its way into all of these
  11. d, 2011
  12. while these are all great names for an otter, our mascot is called Nutkins, named after the late great Terry Nutkins, who famously had a few fingers bitten off by an over-friendly otter
  13. as ever slightly ahead of the curve, DW knew at it would be b, Lady Gaga, who’d go on to become the ‘new Madonna’, as we put it in 2011
  14. “I have a millennium prediction our supermarket clients may not wish to come true,” wrote in Pat Starke as part of a missive that’s well worth a read. So obviously it was d, sofa shopping
  15. It was c, all Y-fronts
  16. Impressed with Livingstone’s fantastic Legible London work, Wolff wanted Johnson to get London walking, so it was a
  17. As this lovely piece from June 1999 reveals, it was of course c, kiss his ass
  18. It was a, The moving finger
  19. Sorrell predicted b, a shower
  20. Tom has a great story about being chastised by a former editor with the brilliant line, “Everybody needs potatoes, Tom. Everybody needs potatoes”. So, it was d.
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