Bodies must promote design via multimedia

With regard to the article on the Department of Trade and Industry’s innovation unit and its new industrial advisor Alan Brickwood (DW 22 March), if design is regarded as a necessity, it appears that many industrialists in this country still do not recognise it.

Yet the DTI stresses it is not intending to take direct action to promote it. If that’s the case, with whom does responsibility lie?

The Design Council is proactive in making design respectable, but as Brickwood states, design needs to be demystified. The answer must lie in education, providing a definitive which can be applied and used as an industry standard.

To see an exhibition such as the recent Royal College of Art’s Design of the Times on a permanent site would be ideal – such promotion of design is valuable, but it seems the cost is one few are prepared to bare.

This role is currently acted out by the Design Museum, but it is a big shoe to fill. The Design Museum’s Paul Smith exhibition profiled yet another established designer in the same static exhibition, but it did give access to Paul Smith’s Web site. So why not create a design directory on the Internet for UK designers, rather than feeding off existing successes?

It would seem that the only platform for designers of all disciplines after graduation is the New Designers in Business exhibition, and even this has limited entry, as colleges and universities often select those who can show. I propose a follow up or further development of young designers outside of that covered by New Designers, a platform on which individuals or groups can promote the up-and-coming face of design within the UK, from the point of graduation.

Many companies and institutions, including the DTI, have supported new designers. Surely it’s time the so-called Design Council got involved and took charge and responsibility to promote design. Perhaps a consolidated front may provide a route for industry to access this valuable resource, even if this means a partially sponsored venture. This would prevent talent being lost.

If an Internet directory funded by the DTI or Design Council was set up, a small fee could be charged to enable designers to get the support and promotion of national and internationally recognised institutions.

If you look to the future, you should not only aim to demystify design but to disentangle it. In so doing, a more cohesive and comprehensive profession could gain a foothold within UK industry today.

Stephen Johns

Morello Design

Surrey TW20 8PF

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