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Design Council campaigns head Richard Eisermann has redefined ‘design’ as ‘value’, adding an extra dimension in an economic, social and aesthetic context. What is your view of this definition and how would you demonstrate it?

Anything that shows that design skills and thinking are widely applicable beyond physical products to public and private services is to be welcomed. Three quarters of the British economy is in services, but too often design is still regarded as an add-on to make a physical thing look pleasing. Design creates value when it makes schools better places to learn, or communities more conducive to good health, when it allows consumers to become participants in creating value. These days more value comes from that kind of interaction and co-creation, rather than when we just acquire physical products that look attractive.

Charles Leadbeater, Senior research associate, Demos

Design has always provided economic value… by being of emotional value to human beings. But by using a term so overused that it has become virtually meaningless, Richard Eisermann unwittingly reveals design’s lack of confidence in the business world. What happened to language like beauty, simplicity, attraction that, like design, moves people?

Charles Trevail, Director, Promise

I couldn’t agree more. Design as a process to visualise ideas, words and objects adds culture to mere problem-solving. Awareness of our own existence separates humans from animals. We don’t just survive, we create culture. We don’t need more, we need better. Better value for money (economic), better communication to ensure access to information for everybody (social), and more beautiful things for our hearts and souls (aesthetic). Making things, without adding value, is a pointless waste.

Professor Erik Spiekermann, Founder, United Designers

Manufacturers and retailers have always known that it is the quality of design that largely determines the difference between the cost of raw materials and the price of a finished product. Creative London supports the promotion of design and all the creative industries in London; with the right advice from Sir George Cox, we believe that the Treasury is now ready to appreciate the critical value inherent in design.

Graham Hitchen, Head of creative sectors, London Development Agency

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