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Following the furore over whether Transport for London had downgraded its design management function (DW 6 September), what is the best way to safeguard design’s status within complex organisations – public or private?

‘Companies which put a value on the benefits of good design should manage their design procurement programme by employing at least one highly qualified, experienced professional who will work at all levels inside and outside of the company to achieve effective results. Good design managers will earn their keep in the first few months.’

Chris Holt, Corporate identity director, Springpoint

‘All organisations should have at least one official policy statement that emphasises a commitment to improving design standards; especially public organisations. ‘Board’-level design representation is also vital, which can be achieved by appointing non-executive directors or external advisors with a recognised design expertise.’

Tony Howard, Director, Roundel (former Executive design manager, British Rail)

‘Potentially, it’s not a bad thing. It all depends on the direction from now on a cost-cutting operation or fresh blood and perhaps more available budgets for outside consultancies. It all rests on whoever validates their department’s role in the bigger organisation. In our case, we have three hands-on department managers and no big cheese. This keeps the balance, and creativity stays utmost.’

Clive Goodwin, Design manager, Samsung Design Europe

‘An appropriate relationship between brand, design and marketing is the best safeguard of visual effectiveness, with marketing and design responding to the brand values. If not, the best you can hope for is a clued-up chief executive like mine; always prepared to support you. Beware, a managing director I had at London Underground once said, “Design is like accounting. There’s only one way to do it.” Sadly, he had a short memory.’

Christopher Nell, Brand and design manager, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

‘Job titles are symbolic in an organisation’s culture, but more important is its attitude to design: is it properly resourced with talented people, an adequate budget and senior management support? The growing importance of design is recognised by the fact that its management home is increasingly in marketing and brand management teams, not a design management functional silo.’

David Griffiths, Senior consultant, Consignia

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