Design Council steps up positive action

Stephen Johns’ letter (DW 19 April) says that “it’s time the so-called Design Council got involved and took charge and responsibility to promote design”, before going on to suggest the creation of an Internet directory.

The Design Council is currently working with a large number of key organisations from design, education, and business to set-up its Web site. As well as working at the appropriate level of depth, it will also provide hypertext links to a wide range of other sites. It’s a big project and we’ve still got a couple of months’ development work to finish, but the site should open later in the summer.

Stephen Johns also criticises the Department of Trade and Industry for not taking “direct action to promote [design]”. The DTI can argue its own case, but at the Design Council we’re very happy with the DTI’s role as the Government body which provides funding to enable us to be the UK’s national authority on design.

The DTI has maintained the level of the grant it pays to the Design Council against a background of substantial cuts for other Government-funded bodies, and this is also a measure of the DTI’s commitment to funding design. The DTI, the Northern

Ireland office, the Scottish Office and the Welsh Office also provide funding to a wide range of bodies whose job it is to provide direct services within their respective “territories”, including Scottish Design through the Scottish Enterprise network and, in England, through a network of Business Links design counsellors. Overall, total DTI funding for design has increased.

At the Design Council we’re working with a range of industry and commerce bodies (including bodies like the Confederation of British Industry), and specialist media like Marketing Week and Management Today to get across the message that design makes a difference. Our quarterly journal Design is distributed to more than 18 000 key decision-makers and opinion-formers. And we’re running a whole programme of activities targeted at this group, including the Design in Business programme which will be launched in the autumn and our new awards system which gets design awards into the management and industrial awards schemes run by others.

The Design Council is totally committed to communicating the importance of design to UK business, and we’re working hard to ensure that our message is heard.

Paul Crake

Communication director

Design Council

London SW1

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