"We love American inventions and seeing how US-made trends and creations end up influencing our neighbours in the UK and beyond. Take a look at our blog for more about the latest trends crossing the pond."
The United Kingdom and the United States, despite sharing a common language and historical roots, exhibit stark differences in their political hierarchies. From the ceremonial role of the royal family to the executive powers vested in the prime minister and president, and the legislative functions of Parliament and Congress, each nation’s leadership structure reflects its unique history, values, and political evolution.
The Role of the Royal Family vs. the President:
United Kingdom (UK): At the apex of the UK’s hierarchy is the constitutional monarchy, symbolised by the royal family. While the monarch, such as King Charles III, holds a largely ceremonial role, their influence is limited by constitutional constraints. The day-to-day governance is carried out by elected officials.
United States (USA): In contrast, the United States embraces a presidential system. The president serves as both the head of state and the head of government, wielding considerable executive powers. The president is elected independently of the legislative branch, allowing for a clear separation of powers.
In recent years, the UK has witnessed a shopping phenomenon that’s been steadily on the rise—Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Originally an American tradition, these two days of epic discounts have made a substantial splash in the UK retail scene. At Find US Made, we keep a keen eye on trends that traverse the Atlantic, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no exception. In this blog, we’ll look at what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, why they gained popularity in the US, their impressive growth there, and their increasing influence in the UK. Plus, we’ll make some predictions about their future until 2030.
What are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving in the United States, traditionally marked by the start of the Christmas shopping season. It’s characterised by retailers offering massive discounts, and it often involves shoppers queuing outside stores in the early hours of the morning.
Cyber Monday, on the other hand, is the Monday after Thanksgiving and focuses on online deals. This trend emerged with the rise of e-commerce, enticing shoppers with deep discounts on various products available online.
Architecture is a reflection of culture, history, and innovation. Over the centuries, the United Kingdom and the United States have developed distinct architectural styles that reflect their unique heritage, climate, and societal influences. In this blog, we’ll delve into the key differences between architectural trends in the UK and America, explore popular building styles, and discover some iconic structures that have left an indelible mark on their respective landscapes.
1. Georgian Architecture: A Classic UK Style
Georgian architecture, which flourished during the reigns of the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover (1714-1830), is characterised by its symmetrical facades, grand proportions, and restrained ornamentation. One of the most iconic examples of Georgian architecture is the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. Designed by John Wood the Younger and completed in 1774, it features a sweeping crescent of 30 terraced houses.
Interesting Fact: The Royal Crescent is not just a beautiful architectural ensemble; it also has a historical significance. During World War II, it was used as a place of refuge and recovery for European Jews who had fled the Nazi regime.
2. Federal Style in America: A Mirror of Neoclassical Elegance
In the United States, the Federal style, inspired by Neoclassical design principles, was prevalent from the late 18th century into the early 19th century. Monticello, the Virginia plantation home designed by Thomas Jefferson, exemplifies this style. Its symmetrical facade, columns, and domed roof showcase the influence of ancient Greek and Roman architecture.
Historical Titbit: Thomas Jefferson, a polymath and Founding Father, not only designed Monticello but also played a crucial role in drafting the Declaration of Independence.
3. Victorian Splendour in the UK
The Victorian era (1837-1901) in the UK witnessed a revival of various architectural styles, including the Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne styles. The Houses of Parliament in London, designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, are a splendid example of Gothic Revival architecture. Completed in 1870, its pointed arches and intricate detailing evoke a sense of grandeur and historical romance.
Fun Fact: The Palace of Westminster, home to the UK Parliament, was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1834, which led to its magnificent reconstruction in the Gothic Revival style.
As the leaves begin to change color and a chill creeps into the air, anticipation builds among Halloween enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United Kingdom and the United States, October 31st is not just another date on the calendar; it is a day filled with spooky celebrations, age-old traditions, and an undeniable clash between consumerism and cultural heritage.
From elaborate costumes to intricately carved pumpkins adorning doorsteps, it has become an iconic holiday that ignites excitement in hearts from late summer onwards. But what are the origins of this beloved festivity? Let us delve into these questions as we unravel the captivating celebrations and traditions in two distinct yet interconnected cultures.
In the UK, Halloween is not just about costumes and candy. It is a time when ghostly tales come alive. The tradition of sharing spooky stories dates back to ancient Celtic customs, where it was believed that on the night of Samhain – the boundary between the living and spirit worlds became blurred. This eerie belief has been kept alive through generations, with families gathering around a cozy fire to share bone-chilling tales of ghosts and ghouls. From haunted castles to mysterious apparitions, these stories have become an integral part of British festivities.
Celebrations in the UK have long been influenced by a merging of traditions with another popular holiday: Bonfire Night. While Halloween typically brings to mind images of spooky costumes and trick-or-treating, the Guy Fawkes Night festivities on November 5th also play a significant role in the country’s fall celebrations. This blending creates a unique atmosphere during this time of year, where mystical creatures and fireworks intertwine to create an unforgettable experience.
One fascinating aspect of these combined celebrations is the incorporation of bonfires. Bonfires have been integral to both holidays for centuries, dating back to when they were originally lit in commemoration of Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up Parliament on November 5th, 1605. Over time, these bonfires became increasingly linked as people began hosting their own private firework displays and parties during this period. The vibrant glow from these fires adds an extra layer of enchantment, evoking a sense of warmth and harmony amidst the eerie ambience.
Another noteworthy tradition that merges with Halloween is penny for the guy, which has its roots in Guy Fawkes Day but has become common during both holidays. Children create effigies resembling Guy Fawkes himself or other mythical characters and parade them through the streets requesting spare change from passersby. The guy is then burned on the bonfire during the festivities.
One of the most beloved traditions in the United States is undoubtedly trick-or-treating. Children dress up in costumes and go door to door, collecting candy from their neighbours. But while this tradition may seem like a simple act of soliciting treats, it actually has its roots in ancient Celtic customs. In ancient times, people believed that on the night of Halloween, the veil between the world of the living and the dead was at its thinnest. To appease wandering spirits, people would leave out food and treats for them. Over time, this evolved into children going door to door asking for candy.
Another iconic symbol in America is pumpkin carving. Every year, families gather around to choose the perfect pumpkin and skillfully carve out faces or intricate designs on its surface. However, many people do not realize that pumpkin carving has ties to an Irish legend about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Jack tricked both God and Satan before his death and was condemned to wander aimlessly with only a lit coal inside a carved-out turnip for light. When Irish immigrants arrived in America during the 19th century, they quickly discovered that pumpkins made for much better lanterns than turnips. Thus began the tradition of carving eerie faces into pumpkins.
These two traditions have become synonymous with Halloween celebrations in America over time but are rooted in fascinating origins that often go unnoticed during contemporary festivities.
Computing technology has been evolving rapidly in America and Britain for the past few decades. Although development of computers can be traced back to as early as 1800 with Charles Babbage’s mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine, it was only during World War II that the technology started to gain attention.
In America, electronic computers were first developed in the 1940s by companies such as IBM and Bell Labs. These early computers were bulky and expensive, but they paved the way for modern computers as we know them today. In contrast, Britain’s early computing industry was largely driven by academia rather than industry. Researchers such as Alan Turing at Bletchley Park played a crucial role in developing code-breaking machines that helped win World War II.
During the 1950s and 60s, both America and Britain experienced a boom in computer development.
Key innovations from each country
In the last century, computing technology has changed drastically, and both America and Britain have been major contributors to the evolution of this industry. The first breakthrough in computing technology was with the invention of the thermionic valve (vacuum tube) in 1904. This innovation paved the way for more advanced computer systems that later emerged.
Then came the invention of the Colossus computers by British telephone engineer Tommy Flowers during World War II. It was used by Allies to break German codes. Later, in 1951 Remington Rand introduced its UNIVAC I computer – which is considered as one of the most significant innovations in American computing history because it was an early example of a stored-program computer.
Another innovation that stands out is ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a US Defence Department project from 1969 that created a network between several universities and government sites to share academic and research data more efficiently.
The United States is a melting pot of cultures, which means that there is no one “American food.” Instead, American cuisine is a mix of all the different types of food from around the world. This makes it difficult to choose a favourite American dish, because there are so many possibilities. However, one thing that all Americans can agree on is their love of food.
In fact, the United States is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Whether you’re in a small town or a big city, you can find some of the best food in the world.
But even with all this choice, there are some foods that are quintessentially American. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and Chinese food are all popular American dishes. There are also many lesser-known American dishes that are worth trying.
One example is sweet potato casserole, a dish that is typically made with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon – topped with marshmallows. It is often served as a dish at Thanksgiving, but can be enjoyed any time of year. Although this might sound like a modern dish, the original recipe actually dates back to 1917!
Another classic American dish is Frito pie. Popular in Midwestern, South-Eastern, and South-Western United States, this dish usually consists of Fritos (corn chips), chili, and cheese. It can be made in a variety of ways, using additional ingredients such as salsa, sour cream, and rice, and is perfect for those who love spicy food.
Corn dogs are another popular American dish that are worth trying. They are made with hot dogs wrapped in cornbread batter and then deep-fried. They are often served with mustard and ketchup on the side.
One of the more unusual combinations that combines sweet and savoury elements is chicken and waffles. Hailing from Pennsylvania Dutch country, the modern version of this recipe tops plain waffles with fried chicken and condiments such as butter and maple syrup.
Biscuits and gravy is another popular combination, especially in the South of England. Similar to a British savoury scone, the ‘biscuit’ is topped with a meat gravy made with the juices from cooked sausages and pieces of meat such as sausage, bacon, or ground beef.
Each one of these dishes is iconic and quintessentially American, and they all have a unique flavour that you’re sure to enjoy. So if you’re looking for a culinary adventure, be sure to give these dishes a try. You won’t be disappointed!
One of the great things about American cuisine is that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a healthy meal or something indulgent and flavourful, you can find it here.
Many of the world’s leading graphic design trends are derived from observations in the U.S. or U.K. and then filtered through an international lens to adapt to whichever culture they happen to land on. Of course, there are always certain nuances to each city’s graphic design style, resulting from the influence of different cultural backgrounds and the value that various industries place on design.
Graphic Design Trends in the U.K. & U.S.
Brands in motion
GIFs have become increasingly common in the U.S. and U.K. as an alternative to static imagery. Unlike static images, they allow the viewer to see a brand in action, creating a more engaging experience for users and portraying a sense of dynamism and personality. GIFs are also perfect for sharing online because they can be easily embedded into social media.
Breaking down (design) borders
The design of public spaces is undergoing a revolution as digital technology allows for new possibilities. The traditional way of designing public spaces is being disrupted by the integration of graphic design with interactive and responsive surfaces that respond to the people and objects around them. Furthermore, designers are now using technology to track users and their movements, allowing cities to communicate with residents in new ways.
With the rise in popularity of wearables, all kinds of product packaging are also becoming increasingly interactive. Visual interfaces that are similar to those used on smartphones have become a standard way to introduce people to the functions of a product. They also make it easier for graphic designers to display product information.
Back in the 1990s
The 1990s are on their way back. Graphic designers are embracing the grungy and heavily stylized aesthetic that was popular in the early days of the internet, which has led to a rise in popularity for typefaces such as Comic Sans and neon colours such as yellow and pink. Another style that is making a comeback is stickers and decals to decorate products.
The new Wild West
Today, the internet is dominated by giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Still, despite their dominance and ability to shape the way we shop, they are not monopolizing everything. Innovative start-ups are providing alternatives to the big internet giants.
The U.S. and U.K. are becoming increasingly interconnected as more people move in and out of both countries, inspiring each other’s graphic design trends. The relevant industries in different regions also have their own particular graphic design styles, resulting from their residents’ cultural backgrounds and the importance they place on communication and interfaces that are easy to use.
If you’re from the UK and are curious about moving to live in the US, you may want to know the difference between living in both countries. By understanding the difference between the living culture in the UK and the US, you can decide if moving to the US is something you want to consider.
Food shopping in the USA can be pretty expensive compared to the UK. Part of this reason is that the US doesn’t have as many budget supermarket stores as in the UK. Large budget food stores like Lidl, Aldi or Asda aren’t available in the US. If you like to budget when it comes to food shopping, this is something to consider.
Roads and transport
America has more land, and the roads are much bigger compared to the UK. Although the UK has smaller roads, it offers better public transport compared to the US. If you’re considering living in the US, it’s important to have a driving license to get around as their public transport isn’t the same and isn’t as accessible in the UK.
Health care system
The NHS healthcare system is publicly free and available for all UK citizens, which means if you’re ill and hospitalised, you won’t receive any bills afterwards. The healthcare system in the US isn’t the same as the NHS. If you’re an American citizen, you will have to pay for your medical bills. Most of the time, they are paid through people’s medical insurance.
When buying anything in the UK, the prices are what you will have to pay for, and there aren’t any additional taxes to be paid. However, in the US, their price tags on food or clothing aren’t the exact price as you see on the tag. Most of the time, the extra tax is added once you’re at the checkout.
You may be wondering what the differences are between UK and USA housing. Although both countries speak the same language, you’ll be surprised to learn that both countries have entirely different styles of housing. Below is a list of things that are different to British and American homes.
UK houses usually come with built-in letterboxes through the front doors. In America, mailboxes are built and placed right outside their homes.
British homes are built with concrete bricks. Houses that are made with concretes are more solid and can last for centuries. This is why many UK houses built years ago are still standing strong to this day. On the other hand, American homes are built with timber frames or cladded wood, which is more ideal for building bigger homes.
When it comes to bathrooms, American houses are likely to have an ensuite that includes a bath, sink, toilet, and shower. In Britain, en suite bathrooms aren’t very popular. You will find that bathrooms are built either on the ground floor or the top floor.
Most houses in the UK does not come with a built-in wardrobe. Usually, you would have to buy them when moving to a different home. In American homes, it’s a standard requirement for rooms to have a built-in or walk-in closet.
Types of homes
The majority of houses in the UK are built semi-detached. In the USA, 80% per cent of houses are detached; this is because American land is more extensive than the UK.
Most roofs in British houses are either built with slate or clay tiles. You will generally find clay tiles in city houses and slate tiles in country homes. The American homes, on the other hand, are roofed with felt tiles.
The healthcare system in the UK and USA both have similarities where the public pays for their healthcare, but both have a completely different system. To understand the similarities and difference between the systems, it’s essential to know how they work in both countries.
United Kingdom has its own public healthcare known as the NHS (National Health Service). People from other countries may be under the impression that the UK’s health system is free for all UK citizens, which is true however it’s not entirely the case. The British system does believe that healthcare is a right for everyone. Although the care is publicly available to all UK citizens, it is paid through tax by every British citizen in the UK. So technically it’s not entirely free. If you’re curious about how much tax is paid, it’s normally 9% of the income which is still quite a significant amount. Furthermore, NHS follows many health standard guidelines and procedures when carrying out their practice.
In the USA, the health care system is run privately. US citizens will either need to sign up to pay for a monthly health plan with their chosen private care or pay the overall cost using their own money when it’s needed. Although the monthly plans are reasonably affordable, the plan doesn’t always cover the total cost which means that they may need to pay a portion of the total cost when using the service. Because the system is run privately, each company will have different plans that cover different procedures. With regards to the standards of care, the USA system follows similar health guidelines in the UK.
Overall, it seems that the UK health system has more advantage compared to the US system. For instance, in the UK, the tax payment will cover any care that you need, unlike in the US, some of the services will still require you to pay extra even when you have signed up for a monthly care plan.
In many respects, the British shopping experience is becoming more and more similar to the American one every day. This isn’t just about the high street, but also online where the distinctions between countries are less relevant, and even in the humble British supermarket. However, there are still several key differences between how we tend to go about our shopping in each of these countries. A few of these are as follows…
As we have discussed before, many words have completely different meanings in America and the United Kingdom, despite the fact that we supposedly all speak the same language. Many of the differences are small and simple to remember, but when it comes to shopping there are a few crucial differences. A lot of clothing items actually have different colloquial names, from pants to trainers, so international fashion retailers notice this the most.
The US was one of the first countries to pass the milestone of more than half of its online traffic being from mobile users, while the UK only reached this point in 2016. A trait that has been observed among American consumers is that they love to browse potential purchases and compare prices on mobile, but after some consideration, the vast majority sit down at a computer to make the actual purchase.
Similar behaviours are emerging slowly in the UK, but only time will tell if we prefer the same approach or are more willing to make snap decisions from our phones. Companies would certainly prefer it that way.
Fast and free
In the UK, although online shopping is quickly catching up with the level of service available in the US, people still don’t have quite the same expectations. One-day delivery in Britain is still seen as a luxury service, but in America it’s usually a minimum, and waiting days or weeks for a package would be unheard of. Brits love to complain about slow service, but when it comes to shopping, Americans can give us a run for our money.
Not only that, but free delivery is also expected in the USA whereas UK customers might not be surprised to pay a few pounds per parcel. The vast majority of American online deliveries are fulfilled by free services, while the same cannot be said in many other places.
Although the legal systems in the UK and the USA originally started out based on the same set of rules, they have diverged over the years and have since become quite different to one another, although there are some interesting parallels.
States and constituent countries
Some rules apply to the entire United Kingdom while other matters may be settled differently depending on the law in the constituent country (England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland). In a similar way, the US government dictates federal law while each of the individual states has varied laws and rules within that.
The two countries are not dissimilar in terms of how past legal cases can be used to set a precedent for a current case. Past judgements are referred to regularly in both court systems in order to make difficult decisions.
For other matters, US courts may refer to Congress, which is made up of the Senate (two representatives per state) and the House of Representatives (a proportionate number of representatives for each state’s population). Congress is comparable to the Houses of Parliament in the UK, where MPs (members of parliament) represent regions all over the country. In each case, new laws are debated and decided by these authorities.
Different court systems
In both countries, there is a distinction between courts that deal with smaller, usually civil cases and more serious criminal cases. In the USA, federal courts can deal with either type, while UK cases are subject to a more complicated system starting from Crown Court, escalating to the Courts of Appeals if needed, and finally a Supreme Court.
There is also a parallel court system for particular types of disputes called a tribunal system, which does not have an American equivalent as such. Cases in the US may alternatively be resolved via arbitration, which is a less formal and less expensive alternative to a traditional court case.
Lawyers and law school
In the UK, lawyers must follow up their law degree with further education, but in the US only the initial qualification and bar exam are necessary to move into any particular field of law. After qualifying, lawyers would often be known as “solicitors” or “barristers” in the UK while the US term is “attorney.” In either case, lawyers are likely to be referred to with respect to their area of expertise.
For two countries that appear to speak the same language on the surface, there are actually a huge number of differences. Some of these are very well known, particularly to British people with a typical working knowledge of American television and film, but others are more obscure.
These differences are also easy to forget once you actually start mingling with people from across the Atlantic and engaging in conversation. Here are a few comparisons you might have forgotten or simply not have heard before.
Pants – This is a common source of amusement to English people who haven’t seen much American TV before. Pants refer to underwear in Britain, but Americans use the term for trousers.
Jumper – Sticking with the clothing theme, jumpers are not a garment in the States, rather someone who’s about to leap off a building. It’s important for Brits to remember the word sweater to avoid confusion.
Trolley – A more obscure term for Americans, trolley would usually refer to an old-fashioned tram. In Britain, of course, it typically refers to what they might call a shopping cart.
Chips – If there’s one essential difference when it comes to food in these two countries, you need to remember that chips are not fries in the USA, but potato crisps.
Biscuit – A close second on this subject is biscuits, because you won’t find chocolate digestives if you’re a British person hunting for biscuits in the US. Instead you’re more likely to come across the strange scone-like things you’ll see on American KFC menus.
Football – If you’re a football fan visiting America, remember not to get too excited when you hear the name of your favourite sport. Unless you enjoy watching the Superbowl, you probably won’t have a clue what’s going on in a game of American football.
Moving to a new city somewhere else in the country is a scary prospect, especially when we jump into a new job at the same time. But what about going to a whole new country, perhaps half way round the world, for a job? What are the kinds of barriers you might expect to face?
Of course there are many benefits to doing this, otherwise nobody would, and in fact a lot of people love to do exactly this. Travelling to a new country is always exciting and provides a lot of opportunities you would otherwise have never had access to. However, we can safely say that for almost anyone this is going to be a learning curve and you might come across some difficulties as a result of the culture you’re used to.
Coming from America to work in the UK, for example, you would most likely notice some crucial differences in the way our cultures compare. For one thing, many people might be taking this path because they are part of a work experience or internship scheme. In the US, this is a relatively common thing to do, while in the UK it isn’t so much. People in a British workplace may have more trouble adjusting to your presence if you’re an intern.
To some extent, you may find that work is a more serious place in the UK and there is a greater focus on concentrating and getting the job done. US employees, by comparison, seem more likely to be chatty and open at work. However, this stereotype is slowly changing as businesses become more global and adaptable, so it really depends on the type of firm and the decisions of individual managers regarding how they want to run their workplace.
A key point of comparison regarding working culture in these two countries is that of work versus life balance. Especially in recent years, UK companies have placed an increasing emphasis on the need to keep employees happy and fulfilled. This includes monitoring the balance they can maintain between the stresses of work and time they can spend relaxing and having fun.
In America it is more common to encounter a classic “workaholic” atmosphere and company structures which reward the most hard-working and competitive staff systematically. There is an argument to be made that in the long run, having to incentivise all productivity and strictly control employees to get the maximum amount of working hours out of them can actually be detrimental to productivity in the long run, so it will be interesting to see how these cultures change in the future.
As we already know, there are a huge number of differences when it comes to the cultures of the United Kingdom and the United States. The festive season is just another topic that differs considerably, despite what you might expect. On the surface there are many similarities, but some of the differences are less subtle than others.
Interestingly, in the UK it’s fairly common to wish people a “Happy Christmas” which has much the same effect as the traditional “Merry Christmas”. In America, this simply doesn’t happen! In fact, it’s not uncommon for British English to offer two different ways of saying exactly the same thing, to the confusion of other English speakers around the world.
Father Christmas might be similarly perplexed, as in the US he would normally be referred to exclusively as Santa Claus, but in the UK we’re happy to switch between the two. His home also has a tendency to change depending on who you ask. Americans simply say Santa lives at the North Pole, while Brits tend to point out that Lapland is where you can actually visit him.
Food typically differs between the two counties, too. Traditionally in America, the turkey we usually eat in Britain is more suited to Thanksgiving. At Christmas a different meat would probably be on the menu, such as beef or ham. For dessert, Americans would swap mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding for a different winter classic such as pumpkin or apple pie.
When it comes to drinks, many Brits think of snowballs (whether you love them or hate them). The name won’t be recognised in much of the USA, but for whatever reason, egg-based beverages are still associated with Christmas. Egg nog aside, though, you’re not likely to find an American substitute for another British tradition: Christmas crackers. Surprisingly enough, these are exclusively found in the UK for the most part. Horrifyingly, even Boxing Day is absent from the US holiday schedule, and is simply treated as the day after Christmas.
You might be forgiven for wondering where the classic American attitude of doing everything bigger and better has gotten to. It sounds like Brits have a lot more traditions to enjoy over the festive season, doesn’t it?
Of course, we’re forgetting one major area – the decorations! What the US might lack in subtle touches, it more than makes up for with lights, trees, more lights, elaborate shrines dedicated to Santa Claus, and even more lights. You’ll need sunglasses to take a walk through many American neighbourhoods around Christmas. You’ll probably get an even bigger dose of festive spirit by visiting a big city or a shopping mall, since the tradition of gift buying is still even bigger than it is in the UK.
Overall, it’s worth remembering that no two households celebrate Christmas the same way, so it’s no surprise there are plenty of differences between countries an ocean apart from each other. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy the festive season!