The Design Council has secured 3.3m from the Government to promote 2000 products and services designed in the UK.
The council is to spend the money over the next four years, selecting and then promoting the products and services worldwide. The Millennium Exhibition in 2000 will promote 200 of them.
Although product design is expected to dominate the selected designs, the scheme is open to other design disciplines such as new media, retail, and corporate identity.
Identity will be considered where the corporate look is both innovative and essential to the success of a venture, says Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers, who cites Wolff Olins’ work for Orange as an example.
Called the Millennium Product Awards, the scheme was announced this week by Minister for Science and Technology Ian Taylor. He says: “These will be new products and services developed in Britain which exemplify world class design and innovation. Our innate inventiveness and the strength of British design give me confidence Britain will rise to the challenge of the new century.”
Taylor says the proposal was first made by John Sorrell, the Design Council chairman. Sorrell predicts that, “These 2000 products will provide a unique body of knowledge.”
The Design Council is to recruit four staff, including a director, to run the scheme. Summers says that he has already spoken to a number of candidates for the director role.
The full details of the scheme will be announced in the summer, with the first winners announced before the end of the year.
A rolling programme of applications, assessments and awards will continue up until 2000.
Winning designs will be given the right to use an identifying marque, for which graphic designers will be sought. However, Summers stresses that the new marque will be “very different” in concept from the old “Selected for the Design Centre” badge.