We need to engage with in-house designers

Peter Spence

Two seemingly unrelated articles in last week’s Design Week (DW 24 February) caught my eye: Lesley Morris’ letter about the UK Design Alliance and Lynda Relph-Knight’s Comment on the unsung heroes of in-house design teams.

With Design Council research showing that 36 per cent of designers work within in-house design and the industry making concerted efforts to ’join up the dots’, are we missing a trick here?

At the South Coast Design Forum we have made efforts to engage with in-house designers, in the belief that the whole of the industry would benefit from closer collaboration between freelances, consultancies and in-house designers, but the results have been disappointing.

I believe that this is mostly because in-house design teams are so far below the radar that it is impossible to have the conversation with the right people. Most active regional networks have shown that the potential for collaboration far outweighs perceived issues of confidentiality. This is surely an area worth exploration.

At present, the resources expended on discovering the opportunities are not justified, but if the barriers could be removed the whole industry could take a positive step forward.

Peter Spence, Forum Director, South Coast Design Forum, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1BA

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