What are the objectives for 2005?

At the start of a new year, Trish Lorenz asks what we can expect from the main design industry bodies

Delivering business advice, lobbying Government, awarding gongs to the most creative and effective consultancies – the official industry bodies are tasked with broad-ranging objectives and play an important role in the design industry today.

At the start of another year, we talk to leading figures in six key organisations to find out their plans for 2005 and flag up some important dates for your diary.

Design Council

As Design Council chief executive David Kester approaches the second anniversary of his appointment, the organisation will be hoping to see the fruits of his plans emerge this year. According to Kester, several major programmes will deliver first-phase results in 2005.

The Public Engagement Programme, which aims to build public awareness of the role of design, launches in late spring with an announcement of the first region to be targeted. The programme will roll out across five regions over the next ten years.

Designers should also benefit from the body’s leadership of the Creative Skills Council – a major Government initiative tasked with improving skills across the creative industries (DW 9 December 2004). Supported by all the major bodies, it is due to report back later this year with recommendations.

Design Business Association

The DBA’s focus for 2005 remains firmly on helping the industry build its business performance, says chief executive Deborah Dawton.

‘We have come out of the recession, but there’s a danger businesses will struggle if the gap between the feel-good factor and groups’ subsequent increase in spending isn’t matched quickly enough [by business upturn],’ she explains.

In addition to its regular training programme, a series of workshop-style events is planned across the UK. These workshops will deal with topics ranging from building business overseas to public relations, human resources and finance.

The DBA will also host a series of client masterclasses to ‘engage businesses directly with design’, says Dawton. ‘Improving performance within the design industry and across business remains a key objective,’ she adds.


Seymour Powell director Dick Powell takes over as D&AD president later this month. He says the organisation plans to shift conceptions that ‘it’s all about a glitzy dinner and awards’.

It will focus on two key objectives in 2005. ‘We’re concentrating on developing our strategy of the past few years, which is about building bridges between education and [the workplace], and increasing the emphasis on creativity in business,’ says Powell.

The second D&AD Congress takes place between April and June and incorporates the D&AD Awards ceremony, which this year sees the introduction of three new interactive categories. Powell tips us to ‘expect a few changes’ to the congress format.

Chartered Society of Designers

Developing a student membership scheme and continuing to expand regional participation are top priorities for 2005 at the CSD, says president Brian Webb.

Student membership will give designers a career path through the CSD from graduation to retirement, explains Webb. The organisation hopes to launch its licentiate membership scheme later this year.

To broaden regional involvement, a lecture series is planned around the UK, with Ron Arad and Wally Olins already in the frame to speak in both London and Manchester.

Strong regional branches of the society are also continuing to have an impact, says Webb. He highlights the South West and East Anglia as key growth areas. ‘There was often a gripe that everything happens in London, but that’s definitely no longer the case,’ he says.

British Council

According to British Council head of design Emily Campbell, designers will be broadening their international focus this year. She sees the industry moving on from traditional markets, such as Milan and Tokyo, to unexplored destinations, such as Africa and Asia, for inspiration and business.

‘It’s become a bigger world than we would normally expect design to encompass,’ says Campbell.

In response, the council will host design programmes in Africa and, with its New Silk Route exhibition, target countries including Uzbekistan and Bangladesh, in addition to the regular Moscow, Milan and Lisbon commitments.

In September, to coincide with the London Design Festival, it will announce the winner of its international Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Design Partners

Design Partners is the body tasked with building overseas markets for design. This year, it plans to continue to focus efforts on key markets in Asia, including Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan, says its creative industries advisor Christine Losecaat. This year also sees the organisation begin work in the Gulf.

Dates for missions are to be announced, but a decision is expected in time for the Government’s Creative Industries AGM, which takes place on 9-10 March.

In the UK, it plans to start partnering activities within the automotive, aerospace, construction, healthcare, financial services and leisure industries – all sectors it has identified as key to design.

Dates for the diary

23 February DBA Design Challenge winner announced

11-16 April D&AD Congress

23-24 May D&AD Creative Showcase

25 May D&AD Awards

27-30 June D&AD New Blood Exhibition and Student Awards

8 June DBA Design Effectiveness Awards deadline for entries

September British Council Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year announced

November DBA Effectiveness Award 2005 winner announced

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