A Blueprint for Life: Designers photographed by Steve Speller

Past display archive
17 September 2004 - 30 March 2005

Room 38a


Casio logo
Supported by Casio in association with Blueprint magazine

Martin John Lambie-Nairn
by Steve Speller
28 May 2004
NPG x126779


A Blueprint for Life is a celebration of the best design around, from the UK's road signage system by Margaret Calvert to the familiar Hovis bread wrapper by Garrick Hamm. The photographs are often witty and always humanistic. No doubt you will have your own views about who should have been included in the show. Indeed, we hope the exhibition sparks a discussion about the role and quality of design in 2004.

Mark Farrow
by Steve Speller
16 July 2004
NPG x126777

Shin Azumi; Tomoko Azumi
by Steve Speller
10 August 2004
NPG x126787


From the designers of the Yellow Pages to the architects responsible for the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, A Blueprint for Life builds up a fascinating profile of the people who literally shape our world.

Steve Speller's colour portraits, all taken using a digital camera, show the designers alongside their work: products, graphic design and buildings that were selected because they have all in different ways improved the quality of life.

Steve Speller took his first portrait of a designer for Blueprint magazine in 1986. During the Eighties and Nineties his approach to photographing designers was important in defining the identity of the magazine, which in its early days always had a designer staring from its striking covers. This exhibition gives the opportunity to develop the genre in a way that is appropriate for the 2000s. A full-colour catalogue, including rare interviews with each designer, is available from the Gallery bookshop priced £12.95.

Steve Speller's portraits for A Blueprint for Life were commissioned for the National Portrait Gallery and this display was curated by Patrick Myles, Creative Director of Blueprint.