Good news for design as Queen honours industry stars

The year started on a high note for design with news that creative industries rainmaker Anthony Simonds-Gooding and Motivation founder David Constantine have both been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List (see, 4 January).

The title CBE is richly deserved by Simonds-Gooding, who has played a huge role in fostering creativity as both client and practitioner. But it is as chairman of D&AD and the Design Business Association that he has earned the deep respect and gratitude of the design community.

He spotted the talent of David Kester, now Design Council chief executive, early on and was more recently instrumental in bringing Tim O’Kennedy in as chief executive of D&AD as saviour of a body that had fallen on hard times.

Interaction designer Constantine, meanwhile, becomes an MBE for his ceaseless quest through his charity Motivation to create wheelchairs cheaply and appropriately in developing and war-torn nations. His latest commission, to create wheelchairs for sports featured in the London 2012 Paralympics, is itself recognition of his prowess. Wheelchair-bound himself, he has built on his own experience not just to design the chairs, but to help people in developing countries to develop businesses around them.

It is great too to see Victoria & Albert Museum director Mark Jones receiving a knighthood. In almost ten years at the museum he has been a staunch champion of design, through initiatives such as the masterplan by architect Eva Jiricna and a host of exhibitions and collaborations centering on contemporary design.

Another reason to be cheerful came this week with the announcement that Mat Hunter is to join the Design Council as chief design officer . As a partner of Ideo he showed not just outstanding design talent, but great leadership skills. He should be able to use this to great effect to create a stronger dialogue between the council and the design community. We’ll hear more of that as the year unfolds.

Lynda Relph-Knight, Editor

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