Summing up

Fee income, revenue from overseas and confidence all on the up. Efficiency has improved and growth is high on the agenda for next year, finds Ian Cochrane

We received more than 240 entries to our Top 100 consultancy survey, which is 3 per cent up on last year.

This year we have compiled the Top 100 on the basis of UK design fees, which are defined as design fees flowing through consultancies’ UK offices derived from projects worked on by people in those offices. This has given us a good picture of the state of the design business here and enables us to compare individual consultancies better.

The Top 100 consultancies have a collective design fee income of 275m. Approximately 65m (24 per cent) of this comes from overseas clients while 210m (76 per cent) comes from UK clients. In addition, 24 consultancies have overseas offices employing a total of 1697 people which contribute another 153m in design fee income. Hence, the worldwide income for the Top 100 groups is 428m.

Last year, the average growth forecast for the next 12 months was 16 per cent and this year it is up to 17 per cent. The actual average increase in fee income on last year has been around 19 per cent.

The Top 100 consultancies employ a total of 4027 staff in the UK, of whom 2061 are qualified designers. This makes an average design fee income per head of 68 000, as against 57 000 last year – an indication of greater efficiency. The Top 100 employ 5724 people worldwide.

There were 26 new entrants in the Top 100 listings this year, including many groups which didn’t enter the survey last year. These include Scott Stern, e-fact, RPA, The Team and Rodney Fitch Design Consultants, whose two-year-old business leapt in at number 53. Blue Marlin and Roundel Design Group both experienced rapid growth last year which has propelled them into the big league.

The Top 100 now excludes those international consultancies with little UK presence, such as Hirch Bedner and Carré Noir.

We were unfortunately unable to include megagroups Imagination and Landor this year, both of which feel it inappropriate to identify their UK figures. Pentagram, which has offices in London and the US, has also been omitted this time around as it was unable to separate out its UK figures. Dragon International and Addison both decided not to enter this year.

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