So, Hilary Cottam won the Design Museum’s ‘Designer of the Year’ competition this year, and well done to her. It has been a point of discussion since the competition began as to how anyone can possibly be called ‘designer of the year’, but this isn’t the reason for writing this letter.
Shortly before the voting closed last week, we received an e-mail, as did other designers we know, asking us to vote for Cottam. This came directly from the Design Council, of which she is a director. This seems to be a rather blatant misuse of the Design Council’s mailing list,
and twists the notion that this is supposed to be a public vote based on work shown at the museum. There is no way the other nominees could have such direct access to influence so many voters.
We feel that this year’s award has done little to hush the discussion about the worth of such a title, and has done much to increase the feeling that this is an award riddled with nepotism, which now holds no real truth or meaning.
Nick Foster, Senior designer, Sony Design Centre Europe, London EC1
Paul Backett, Designer, SeymourPowell, 327 Lillie Road, London SW6