Gray’s centre to act as Scottish design broker

C4DI, Aberdeen’s new £1m Centre for Design and Innovation Management, is seeking Scottish design groups to work with local businesses to improve their products and services.

Gray’s School of Art has set up the centre, which aims to use its three-year Scottish government funding to help hundreds of small businesses.

‘We want to have as many Scottish design consultancies on our books as possible, covering many disciplines, from branding to product design,’ says centre director and Gray’s School of Art Professor of Design Julian Malins.

The centre, which is due to open in January, will keep an in-house team of about three designers to assess the design needs of small businesses.

‘We will take companies to a certain level of thinking about a concept and at that point put them in touch with a designer,’ says Malins, who warns that non-Scottish consultancies are not eligible to work with the centre, as it is funded by the Scottish government.

He is keen to distance the initiative from other university-based design consultancies, some of which have been accused of undercutting on price to take work from local groups (DW 9 October).

‘We are definitely not trying to undermine other companies specialising in design, since part of our job will be brokering design,’ says Malins.

Gray’s School of Art is running a student competition to brand C4DI, although a public pitch may also be issued next year.

C4DI expects to spend its first three years in Scottish Enterprise’s Science and Energy Park in Aberdeen, but could eventually end up in a new building planned for the city’s Gray’s School of Art.



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