Vox Pop

A debate was struck up at an industry gathering last week about UK designers being too shy to stand up for the public profile they deserve. How do you think the industry might shirk off its reticence and go for the limelight?

‘I can think of plenty of people in the design world who don’t need encouragement to talk. Then there are all those big mouths on television who want to give your house a makeover. So the question is not so much who talks but what they say – having a robust, powerful, credible and amusing argument is key.’

Wally Olins, Chairman, Saffron Brand Consultants

‘The only profile worth having relies on a sound design philosophy and the confidence to stand up and be counted. It also requires strategy and management. PR is an overhead, like accountancy or IT services and when it’s based on integrity, it has the power to transform businesses. No one deserves a profile, they earn it.’

Giovanna Forte, Principal, Forte Communication

‘The nature of the design process makes designers thinkers and doers, not natural promoters, which in this celebrity culture is quite refreshing. Not everybody wants “public profile”, they just want to do what they do well. The design media itself is not good at embracing and promoting design personalities. The public and business find design as a subject compelling. The design industry hasn’t yet grasped this astonishing fact and works the room. Maybe it’s time we did.’

David Davies, Creative director, Davies & Baron

‘Design has for too long hidden its success. We need to be confident about our achievements. That’s both in our attitude and behaviour with clients, and through the likes of the Design Business Association’s International Design Effectiveness Awards that clearly prove the value of what we do.’

John Mathers, Group managing director, Enterprise IG and president, DBA

‘The problems are rooted deep within our culture and the Britishness of modesty coupled with the awareness of the public’s love/ hate relationship with success. Today’s youth seem much more comfortable with the concept of fame and celebrity. They may naturally become the limelight-hungry generation without much persuasion from us, but if not, then they may look at how people like Vince Frost and Jonathan Ive have risen to the task of success and its subsequent responsibilities.’

Simon ‘Sanky’ Sankarayya, Co-founder, All Of Us

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