"Steel has become as much a necessity to me as food and drink" declares sculptor Bryan Kneale, one of the artists and designers whose work with steel is featured in this innovative 1970s documentary, commissioned by the British Steel Corporation to highlight the value of steel to culture as well as industry. By 1973, when she made this film, Sarah Erulkar had earned her reputation as an illustrious director of industrial sponsored documentaries.
Erulkar had previously made films for Shell, the Central Office of Information, and the General Post Office (GPO) among others. The quiet observational style of Design in Steel recalls her own acclaimed GPO film Picture to Post (1969), which celebrates stamp design. Design in Steel's signature early 1970s motifs include judicious use of fractal photography by the great Wolfgang Suschitzky, two years after he shot Get Carter, and a flute-led soundtrack courtesy of composer Paul Lewis, who worked prolifically across documentary, TV drama and comedies, including Monty Python's Flying Circus.