Slide show

Designers now have access to a range of design archives. Mike Exon checks them out

Off the main drag, away from the stack of mainstream photo libraries, lurks a handful of lesser-known and largely non-commercial design archives, with picture libraries open to designers.

Many of these have been donated to academic institutions looking to add a modest sideline through partnership with business. Unfortunately for designers, many colleges have yet to respond in this way and prolific archives such as that of the Royal College of Art remain closed to outsiders. Even more sadly, the Design Museum found it had too few resources to run its own picture library, which it was forced to close in 1992. Other hidden gems undoubtedly exist. In the meantime, here is a taster from some of the institutions that are prepared to loan out their stock of images.

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