Privatisation and a greater awareness of the commercial benefits of good branding were given as opportunities for UK designers in Portugal, following the Department for Trade and Industry’s seminar there last week.
Speakers at the British Design Business Seminar in Lisbon included Lloyd Northover Citigate vice-chairman Jim Northover, Lewis Moberly strategic planning director Rebecca Jay, Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers and CGI managing director Stephen Thomas.
The delegates were warned that design is seen in Portugal as coming from artists and not from the commercial sector. “There is still a need to improve the attitude to design and the meaning of corporate identity,” says Lloyd Northover business development manager Sarah Phillips.
“People can see there are opportunities if you can offer expertise that’s not available locally,” says attendee Circle Design director Charles Seaford.
Maria JosÃ© Nogueira, executive director of the Portuguese Design Centre, confirms this. There are few design consultancies in Portugal with the capacity to develop projects in corporate identity and packaging, she says.
Many small local consultancies are keen to set up links with UK groups interested in getting a foothold in the market. However, the low number of big clients and strength of the pound are seen as disadvantages.