Tuesday, 30 September 2014
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Positive thinking can help to entice clients back to design education

Lyndda

It takes guts for an educational institution to raise its head above the parapet in these days of wholesale cuts. But the University of the Arts London is pressing on with plans to review its strategy, taking on Moving Brands to tackle the challenge.

It makes sense for UAL to reconsider how it presents itself to potential sponsors and students at a time when competition for both is rife. How can you hope to compete when your identity is unclear, and, as an umbrella covering six high-profile London design colleges, how do you distinguish yourself from your component parts especially when they are world-renowned like Central St Martins College of Art and Design and the London College of Fashion?

It makes sense for UAL to reconsider how it presents itself to potential sponsors and students

All parties stress that a rebranding programme isn’t an inevitable outcome of the review, but having come this far it would be surprising if it wasn’t. Moving Brands has, after all, already created the UAL website, drawing in its component colleges, and we might expect this integration to be more manifest in the overall branding.

UAL isn’t the only institution thinking positively in the face of the cuts, and looking to supplement dwindling Government grants. London’s Royal College of Art has, for example, organised sales of students’ work, notably in product design and photography, to fund student shows, while the University of Huddersfield is among those that anticipated the cuts and made contingency plans.

But there will inevitably be shortfalls as the Government-imposed rise in student fees kicks in. Design colleges are going to need new revenue streams and financial help if they are to deliver the creative talent the UK needs to ensure a successful future.

Sponsors enlightened enough to wade in will undoubtedly be rewarded in spades not least by meeting corporate social responsibility targets. How can we encourage clients to back design education? We welcome your ideas.

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