Season’s greetings and reasons to be cheerful

We at Design Week end the year on a high, having been ranked 13th in the Guardian Media Top 20 magazine charts. It’s an unexpected honour for us that reflects the growing public interest in design.

Monday’s news about our success got me thinking about the many other good things that have come out of 2005 for design – a year scarred by the tsunami, terrorist attacks in London and natural disasters in America’s Deep South and Pakistan. In design, it is easy to think of it as a year of yet more grind – tight budgets, free pitches and workloads geared to winning projects rather than completing them. But it hasn’t been all bad and I offer you some thoughts to carry with you into the new year.

First, whether or not you have read the Cox Review – and many have been daunted by Sea Design’s uncompromising typography – it lays a strong foundation for design’s future at the heart of Government economic policy. Chancellor Gordon Brown is backing design as the key to competing with China and India.

Meanwhile, the regions have never been stronger. Wales and Cornwall have held their own design festivals, the Design Business Association continues to strengthen its representation out of London and, with the North East poised to host the first biennial, Design Council-brokered Design of the Times year in 2007, that energy is set to build.

Then there are client sectors that continue to yield great opportunities. It remains tough in retail and, say, branded packaging. But ‘convergence’ guarantees activity and scope for innovation in TV and mobile phones particularly, and ‘service design’ is giving the industry greater influence. Meanwhile, digital design grows apace as websites cease to be the only outlet.

Above all, there is the upbeat spirit of the industry. Never underestimate the ability of design-related folk to get up there and do it, however hard it gets. Have a great Christmas and come back ready for the challenge – maybe 2006 will bring the breakthrough we all crave.

Lynda Relph-Knight, editor

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