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Sometimes the government is really rather good at design

Red Despatch Box as used by Margaret Thatcher - photo courtesy of Becks on Flickr - CC BY 2 0

A little gem I discovered from Who Goes Home? A Parliamentary Miscellany by Robert Rogers:

The red despatch box is a badge of ministerial office … The lock is on the bottom, not the top, which is intended to ensure that the box is locked before it is carried.

That’s a very smart piece of design, designing out problems at source.

(On a related point: despatch boxes are also available in black, so that they are less conspicuous when someone is travelling with one.)

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