Design Council says UK design is worth £6.5bn

The UK design industry is expanding rapidly and is currently worth around £6.5bn, according to new research published by the Design Council.

The comprehensive survey reveals that the number of UK design consultancies has grown by nearly a third since the mid-1990s, to around 4000. The industry now employs nearly 75 000 people and boasts a gross total fee income of around £5bn, with a total turnover of around £2.2bn.

Design as an export has also grown, with overseas income now estimated to be £1bn – three times greater than the Government’s last estimate in 1995. At the top end of the scale, 36 per cent of consultancies questioned enjoy a turnover of more than £1m. At the bottom of the table, 8 per cent of consultancies have a turnover of £50 000 or less. Turnover for the Design Week 2000 Top 100 consultancies enjoyed a rise of 25 per cent from 1998 to 1999, to £792m.

Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers says the valuation survey quantifies the size of the industry more comprehensively than ever before. “UK design talent is being harnessed at home and abroad,” he adds.

The largest client sector is entertainment and leisure, followed by retail, according to the study. Branding and graphics is the most popular discipline for design groups – 42 per cent work in this area. This is followed by digital media and packaging.

The research was undertaken and jointly funded by the Design Council and The British Design Initiative.

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