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Former BAA design head Raymond Turner and the Royal Mails stamp supremo Barry Robinson (DW 4 July) have stepped down from their posts this year and have not been directly replaced. Is there still a role for such high profile design champions on the client side? If not, what design management system would you advocate?

‘I can’t see a time when the need to manage the interface between creative work and corporate culture would be unnecessary and as such, high-calibre design managers will always have a vital role to play. To be effective they must have a high profile internally.’

Colum Lowe, Director, Plan Creatif/Crabtree Hall

‘The days of organisations affording the luxury of high-level marketing specialists as permanent overheads are numbered. Business leaders will have to become more skilful at acting as ringmasters to purpose-built teams of specialists. Both sides of the system – individuals and organisations – need to be more flexible.’

Richard Gowar, Director of strategy, Elmwood

‘In museums/galleries – yes! Many projects are curator-led; academics can require extra support when called on to make aesthetic judgements. Projects can involve the services of several consultancies, in-house teams of designers and marketers. Someone needs to co-ordinate projects and the input of all these groups.’

Jude Simmons, Head of design, National Portrait Gallery

‘Design management is autocratic and may not have a place in our democratic corporations. The necessity of the total brand experience has meant responsibility for company perception rests with marketing as well as design management; this could lead to design being outmanoeuvred in the boardroom. Perhaps we should remind CEOs about how much corporations spend on design without professional input. That’d sharpen their perception of design management.’

Christopher Nell, Corporate design and brand manager, RICS

‘BAA and Royal Mail have benefited from strong design leadership. Raymond and Barry both created systems to ensure the maintenance of a flourishing climate for design. The Stamps Advisory Committee, including key designers, is a major component of this excellence. In BAA, design-trained executives are in planning and operational teams are rising up the ranks.’

Naomi Gornick, Associate professor of design management, Brunel University

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