Let’s explore alternative routes to finding work at this time of cutbacks

Times might be tough – and the public sector in particular still unpredictable as we await the fate of Government’s chief design buyer the Central Office of Information – but the design community remains largely gung-ho about its own prospects.

For example, the Welsh creative community, represented by Design Wales, is urging the National Assembly for Wales to lobby the devolved Welsh Assembly Government to integrate design into policy-making on innovation, public services and social enterprise.

The Design Wales manifesto launched last month at the Cardiff Design Festival calls on NAW to form a cross-party group to fight the cause in the run-up to the NAW elections next May. With the results of the attendant e-petition due next week, we can soon gauge the strength of feeling for design.

We are seeing more groups being proactive in engaging clients and their peers

Elsewhere, we are seeing more groups being proactive in engaging clients and their peers. Branding group Heavenly’s bold ads in national media and on prominent poster sites invite clients to get in touch (www.designweek.co.uk/blog, 29 September), but others are exploring more subtle ways of promoting their expertise. It’s early days for many, but watch this space.

The best work invariably comes from strong client relationships – partnerships, really. In difficult times though, consultancies can get desperate, viewing clients as ogres to be obeyed if they are to be retained – it shows in the way they allow themselves to be treated and in the quality of the work. Next week’s Creative Survey supplement will feature work emanating from successful collaborations and, for the first time, give the client view of consultancies. We hope these exemplars will spur designers on.

Which brings us back to the COI. Creative director Fanny Sigler’s departure doesn’t bode well for designers on the COI rosters, but it doesn’t spell the end of public-sector commissions. We just need to find other routes to winning them.

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