It’s been tough, but many of the changes bode well for us

Most in design – or, indeed, in any business sector – will be glad to see the back of 2009. Job cuts, constrained budgets, fickle clients and erratic overseas markets have characterised the year.

But as we approach 2010 with the optimism invariably generated by the annual calendar shift, it’s worth taking stock of the good things of the past 12 months.

We are, for a start, reaching the last stroke of Sir Martin Sorrell’s recession ‘design’, whichever version you go for. We’ve made inroads into crime prevention and health is high on the agenda, thanks to Government projects delivered via the Design Council. And craft skills are back.

There’s been a reshuffle of top folk, but Tim O’Kennedy’s role as D&AD chief executive and Paul Thompson’s rectorship at the Royal College of Art are among the shifts that take the creative industries forward. Sebastian Conran quit the family firm to go solo; Heavenly gained Martin Lambie-Nairn; and while we have yet to learn what happens next with Simon Waterfall’s move from Poke and Rodney Fitch’s imminent departure from Fitch, both promise exciting things.

The focus on sustainability through design continues apace, with Audi Design Foundation’s swansong initiative, Sustain Our Nation, and the West Country’s Designs of the Time programme poised to deliver over the coming months. Meanwhile, inclusive projects and co-design are coming ever closer to reality.

The regions continue to thrive, delivering award-winning creative work and new models of working in adversity. But London battles on, Mayor Boris Johnston’s ill-starred identity contest notwithstanding, and the impending 2012 Olympics promise greater design opportunities.

The year ends with Sir John Sorrell joining Sir Terence Conran and Lord Rogers as a UK Business Ambassador, to promote the creative industries abroad. So good things are guaranteed.

On that note, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a positive change of fortune in the new year. We’ll be back in print on 7 January 2010.

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