Design Inc is a Surrey creative agency founded back in 1997. In celebrating Design Inc’s 25th year it’s almost inevitable that we’d start thinking about what life was like back at the start of our journey. There is no doubt that the world has changed dramatically in the last 25 years so we thought we would share a few things to jog the memory.
Cost of living
The cost of living is not a popular topic right now, with prices of everything soaring over the last few months. In 1997 petrol was around 57.9p per litre, which seems ridiculously cheap compared to current prices of 188p or more for unleaded – filling an average family car now costs over £100!
Similarly, rising home energy bills don’t even bear contemplating at the moment. Back in 1997, the annual cost for gas and electric for an average 3-4 bedroom house was around £837, which sounds like an absolute bargain. The average house price in 1997 was approximately £59,000, which equated to 3.6 times the average annual salary of £16,500. Today’s average salary is £29,600 and being able to afford an average house at an average price of £281,161 is a real stretch.
Our glorious leaders
On 2 May 1997, the UK got a new Prime Minister. Labour enjoyed a landslide victory in the General Election and Tony Blair was the golden child. The party remained in power until 2010. 25 years later in 2022, the conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson’s has resigned and the UK gets a new Prime Minister again.
Cinemas drew big crowds back in ‘97, with over 139 million people watching films on the big screen throughout the year. Blockbusters included the revamped version of Star Wars, The Full Monty and The English Patient. Moreover, Jurassic Park – The Lost World brings dinosaurs back to life and is a huge hit worldwide.
Fast forward to 2022 and the latest instalment of the franchise, Jurassic World – Dominion is, once again a global success.
Back to 1997, and a certain company called Netflix was launched. Initially set up to sell and rent DVDs, Netflix began streaming content in 2007 and today has a global membership of over 220 million people – the most recent series of Stranger Things clocked up over 1.1 billion viewing hours within the show’s first 28 days of being dropped.
The publication of a book written by an unknown author in 1997 would see no less than eight movies (11 if you include the spin-off series of Fantastic Beasts) released over 10 years and guaranteeing plenty of bottoms on cinema seats. That book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J K Rowling went on to write a further six Harry Potter books and there will be very few people today who are unaware of Hogwarts, Voldemort et al.
On the music front, in 1997 the Spice Girls were riding on the crest of a wave and Robbie Williams, having left Take That the previous year, released his debut album. Angels, his fourth single, is still his bestselling song. And then there was UK success at Eurovision. Katrina and the Waves won the 1997 contest with the song Love Shine a Light. At the time, it was a record-breaking win, with a clear 70 points between Katrina and the second placed Irish entrant. Unfortunately, we then entered a dismal and extended period of ‘nil points’. 2022 saw the UK’s hopes rest on the shoulders of Sam Ryder, a singer who had amassed a huge following after posting song covers on TikTok during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Sam’s song Space Man was first after the jury voting. However, the televote saw overwhelming support for the Ukraine entry and the UK ended up in second place – but we’ll take an almost win.
Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing computer, defeated world champion Garry Kasparov and marked an important step forward in the development of artificial intelligence – Kasparov had never lost to a human opponent. Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company at the time, valued at $261 billion. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who had been forced out of the company in 1985, returned and began to turnaround the fortunes of a tech brand that was soon to become one of the most desirable. And the world learnt of the existence of Dolly the sheep, the first ever successful cloning of a mammal.
Sovereignty over Hong Kong was passed from the UK to China, so ending over 150 years of British Rule. Russia and Chechnya signed the Moscow Peace Treaty, only to be nullified two years later by Russia. And in December 1997, 150 countries signed the Kyoto Protocol, demonstrating a commitment to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere – something the world is still battling 25 years later.
But the one event that truly rocked the world was the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Following a horrific fatal crash in Paris on 31 August, the world went into shock and mourning. The public show of grief was unparalleled and it was estimated that over 2 billion people worldwide watched Diana’s funeral on television. 25 years on and the Royals are still leading the front pages with this year seeing the Queen mark her Platinum Jubilee.
Surrey creative agency
Design Inc is a Surrey creative agency and was founded in 1997. And, whilst the world has gone through many changes over the years, our commitment to providing high level creative services has never altered.
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