Great designers are like great chefs – sure to deliver quality

Lynda Relph-Knight

Glenn Tutssel makes a great point in likening designing to being a master chef (see Voxpop, page 11).

The heat of the restaurant kitchen at peak times can be likened to the quiet frenzy that hits the studio in the hours before a pitch, when teamwork really comes into play. Meanwhile, the confections produced by both professions demand creativity, variety and attention to detail to keep the punters happy. They have to appeal to the senses, but have the substance to satisfy even the heartiest appetite.

As Tutssel rightly says, great chefs never fail to deliver quality and that is what is likely to see them through tough times for the catering trade. The same can be said of designers, whatever the discipline, as the industry steels itself for the even more straightened times WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is predicting for the rest of the year and most of 2009. The best will win through.

Certainly, Tutssel’s consultancy The Brand Union is pushing for quality throughout its global network with plans to boost skills across the board and through its student bursary scheme involving five UK colleges. Its commitment to a minimum wage for next year’s intake of graduates from the scheme reinforces Tutssel’s belief that emerging talents are the lifeblood of the industry (DW 10 April).

But design is only one of the ingredients that make for the most creative projects. We also need a national culture to foster them and enlightened clients to engage in the process. Sir Terence Conran has proved this point over the years, fighting hard to change minds about food and design in equal measure.

Prince Andrew’s latest push for UK design can only help weave design more closely into our cultural fabric (see News, page 5). Let’s hope that he and others with influence are able to persuade London Mayor Boris Johnson of the folly of mounting free pitches for designs as crucial as a bus. If the UK is to lead through design, then the capital should be in the vanguard.

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