What is Design? 100 Definitions

Produced for John Sorrell


As a designer and former chair of the UK Design Council, John Sorrell has been asked the question ‘What is design?’ on countless occasions. His response was a small 1995 publication of 50 definitions contributed by designers, business people, politicians and children. In 2021, John decided the moment was right to recycle his idea and he invited 100 influential figures from the design and creative industries to share their definitions.


Although Hurtwood is known as a publisher of beautiful books, we often lend our expertise to friends and clients who want to make their own bespoke book, in their own way. Even for the experienced professional, manufacturing can be difficult, with nudges towards ‘normal’ and ‘standard’.

That any book would be beautifully designed by John Sorrell was inevitable. Hurtwood’s challenge was to make the final object equal to its design. We achieved this task by locating the perfect paper (archival with an elegant surface). We then thoughtfully printed the book to ensure that the number of pages in each section allowed for ease of opening and accurate folding. John chose from a selection of exquisite cloths, before we sent the book to be bound by our talented craft bookbinders in the UK, who we use for all our most precious work.

Few in number, high in production value and sumptuous to the touch, What is Design? 100 Definitions has all the qualities of a luxury item – sophisticated, stylish and custom-made.

The Details

  • Title: What is Design? 100 Definitions.
  • Quantity: Limited to 250 Collector’s Editions.
  • Slip case: 133 x 168 mm, portrait.
  • Book: 120 x 250 mm, portrait.
  • Binding: fully bound in red suedel with a red satin ribbon marker.
  • Pages: 220 pp.
  • Printed by our fantastic Welsh print partners.
  • Pre-press, production and print management done in-house by Hurtwood’s studio.