Several British manufacturers working with the Design Council on its Design Demonstrations initiative have already bolstered their design functions barely a month into the project.
As the scheme gears up for next month’s phase two, whereby companies involved will present their future design plans, a number of manufacturers have made high-profile design appointments.
Ceramics firm Portmeirion last week appointed Mike McGuire as its first director of design. His brief, according to Portmeirion managing director Alan Miles, is about ‘going back to basics’ to define the company’s design strategy.
The company will be focusing on new product development next year. Its design ‘mentor’ is Evan Kitsell, design manager at Ensign Design.
Bedroom furniture company Jay-be has integrated it designers into one design studio and is looking to bring in external creatives. It has also set up a weekly design committee.
Design Demonstrations, which was set up last year (DW 14 November 2002), marries high profile product, branding and graphic designers with a selection of UK manufacturers.
Initial feedback sessions from designers to companies are taking place this week.
‘In a short space of time, we’ve witnessed a major change in [companies’] behav
iour,’ says Design Council director of design and innovation Clive Grinyer. ‘Our “immersion day” before Christmas gave companies the oxygen to talk about design, and they are already reorganising their teams,’ he adds.
The Design Council is now monitoring each company to help them put into practice designers’ initial suggestions, and intends to put them in touch with other companies who have experienced similar ‘problems’, Grinyer says.
Designers involved in the scheme include Ideo London head Colin Burns, Pentagram partner Justus Oehler, Paul Priestman, director of Priestman Goode, and Elmwood director of brand innovation Greg Taylor.