The main industry bodies don’t quite make the grade

Lynda Relph-Knight

There’s something very special about Design Week’s Hot 50. Published this week, it gives us the rare opportunity to reflect on and honour people and organisations that have gone the extra mile for design.

We use it to push the boundaries of how we define design – we don’t write much about boats, for example, but Wally Yachts makes the grade this year. We seek to explore the breadth of interest in design, from politicians and global companies such as Apple to artists, creative activists, educationalists and designers. We hope that inclusion in the listing urges them to keep the momentum going, an aspiration particularly important for UK Government and other influential stakeholders in design.

Only 50 contenders make it into the listing, compiled with the help of a distinguished panel of assessors. Some, notably charities like Audi Design Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, are so prolific and inventive in their support for design that they have become regulars. There are those recognised as ‘bubbling under’, poised, like D&AD president Simon Waterfall, on the edge of achieving great things – we hope – and ripe for consideration next year. And there are those, sadly, that continue to disappoint.

Interestingly, among those that have yet to make the grade are the main industry bodies. While Anthony Simonds-Gooding earns a place through his tenacity, energy and sound management sense, D&AD and the Design Business Association, both of which he chairs, have yet to make the listing. The same is true of the Design Council, represented this year by its old and new chairmen, Sir George Cox and Sir Michael Bichard, and the Dott 07 venture, but not included in its own right.

You could say that it is the job of these bodies to push the case for design, but how great it would be if they were outstanding in their efforts. We are left celebrating the massive contribution made by individuals associated with such organisations rather than applauding their skilful manoeuvres on behalf of design.

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