The festival was a success, but let’s keep up the debate

It’s been a week of recovery and reflection in design on what proved to be the most dynamic London Design Festival yet.

Its backers at the London Development Agency patently listened when they trawled opinion last year about the future direction of the festival. The result was more substance and debate within an event that previously relied overly on international fixtures like 100% Design and Designersblock.

In 2005, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown famously used the LDF as a platform for policy announcements relating to design. This year London Mayor Ken Livingstone reinforced his positive stance on the creative industries, pledging, among other things, his support for a bigger and better Design Museum as part of a bid to make London the world’s cultural capital (News, DW 20 September).

Livingstone’s engagement with design is key, with the 2012 London Olympics looming. Until now this has manifested largely in architecture, but by continuing to fund the LDF and extending this year to ventures such as iDesign, London’s first big conference on digital design, the LDA is showing a broader commitment to the creative industries.

The iDesign event, organised by Dynamo London and New Media Knowledge, was one of the highlights of this year’s festival. It, along with the Design Council’s ‘Wake up to sustainability’ breakfast, added meat to the sandwich of products and parties. The debates aired by both are worth pursuing – at and respectively – pointing to a future where creativity is key and we’re not dwelling solely on this year’s model.

What they both have in common is a belief in sharing ideas and actions – among designers, with official organisations, with ordinary people, and beyond. As sharing is also the theme of Simon Waterfall’s presidency of D&AD at such a pivotal time for the world, it would be great to see the LDA and central Government building on such initiatives to give the UK the lead, through design, in issues of global importance.

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