Time for better communication on Government design drives

You would be forgiven for confusing the Creative Economy Programme with other Government-backed initiatives currently active in design (see News in Depth, page 7), all bent on fitting design for a brighter future as a cornerstone of the UK economy.

You would be forgiven for confusing the Creative Economy Programme with other Government-backed initiatives currently active in design, all bent on fitting design for a brighter future as a cornerstone of the UK economy.

The Skills Council’s offshoot Creative & Cultural Skills, for example, appears to be heading down a similar route to the CEP, the main difference being that the latter is housed in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so it is more central to Government.

And then we have the Cox Review, commissioned by the Treasury and overseen by Design Council chairman Sir George Cox. The findings of the review, announced late last year, put considerable emphasis on education and training at all levels within the creative industries – themes common to all three ventures.

Shaun Woodward’s predecessor as Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism, James Purnell, explained the CEP at its initiation as providing support by way of a fit industry on which the Cox Review could build. Without properly trained people and consultancies the scope is limited for design to impact on business generally, making the UK ‘the world’s creative hub’ and beating global competition.

So there is a link. But for most in design it isn’t that obvious, yet most of the initiatives rely on industry buy-in to achieve success. Creative & Cultural Skills in particular seems to be covering old ground with the publicity it has generated of late for accreditation and apprenticeships. Surely there are more innovative ways to inspire designers and take the industry forward.

The one thing lacking in all this is coherent communication, and that surely lays at the Design Council’s door, it being involved in all three ventures. Instead of using the shock tactics it employed in its recent campaign, can’t it for once come out with a clear message explaining the initiatives in simple terms and why and how design can get involved?

Lynda Relph-Knight, editor – Design Week

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