Design’s value to UK economy soars

The design sector contributed £3.1 billion to the UK economy in 2013 – a massive rise of nearly 25 per cent from the previous year, according to new Government figures.


Source: William Warby


The Department for Media, Culture and Sport statistics show that design’s value was up from £2.5 billion in the previous year.  Design is classified as product, graphic and fashion design in the report.

The new figures value the UK creative industries as a whole at £76.9 billion a year – which means they contribute £8.8 million to the UK economy each hour. The design sector is growing at more than double the rate of the creative sector as a whole, which us up by nearly 10 per cent from last year’s total of £71.4 billion.

The creative sector is growing at three times the rate of the wider UK economy, according to the figures.

The figures also show that crafts are worth £172 million a year – down from the previous year – while advertising and marketing is worth £10.2 billion a year.

The design sector now accounts for 177,000 jobs in the UK – up from 166,000 last year. The creative industries as a whole account for over 2.6 million jobs.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid says Government is “determined” to continue to support the UK creative industries and pointed to measures such as tax reliefs for orchestras and children’s TV.

Javid says: “The UK’s creative industries are recognised as world leaders around the globe and today’s figures show that they continue to grow from strength to strength.

“They are one of our most powerful tools in driving growth, outperforming all other sectors of industry, and their contribution to the UK economy is evident to all.”

A survey conducted by website – a partnership between Government and the creative sector – suggested that industry leaders saw measures such as tax reliefs and the launch of the Create UK long-term growth plan for the creative industries as contributing to the success.

Survey respondents also said that opportunities in increased digitisation, changes to UK tax and investment rules and educational schemes such as the planned National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries would continue to build in this success.

Responding to the survey, Design Council chief executive John Mathers said: “We are very supportive of the proposals [in the Design Commission’s Designing the Digital Economy report] to appoint a head of design in every UK government department and a chief user officer on all large government infrastructure projects, and believe that this trend will continue to flourish.

“We’ve already seen, through our own work with local authorities, that design is being recognised as a catalyst for positive change and a mechanism to increase effectiveness and efficiency. With the help of the unifying Design Industry Roundtable, I believe design will be incorporated throughout the decision making process and the delivery of high-level, big budget projects.”


You can read the DCMS report in full here.

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  • Ian Styles November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Many in the design industry have known for years that design has the ability to add value to all areas of business. It is good to see this thinking being proposed to run throughout all governmental departments as well from the new report.

    In the past 2 years at DesignStudio we have already seen a change in perception of the value of design at boardroom level, with more businesses making the shift to becoming design-led. The figures are encouraging that this is set to continue.

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