Vox Pop

North Staffordshire is the latest region to seek to boost its identity through design (DW 17 October). What do you think should be the starting point for such an initiative?

‘An inclusive process is vital and local people must be involved at all levels in order to secure long-term support and success. Speaking from Glasgow’s experience, if external consultants are used, their role should enable local people to participate in real, useful and meaningful ways.’

Janice Kirkpatrick, Director, Graven Images

‘At the risk of stating the obvious: objectives, audiences and messages. Sometimes it is too easy to get wrapped in the terminology and excitement of the visual aspects of a project and forget these fundamentals. Only by really understanding what a client is trying to achieve can we, as designers, demonstrate an ability to make a positive contribution. What better way to instil continued faith in the power of creative design than leading by example?’

Darren Richardson, Director, Gardiner Richardson

‘There are more design sceptics than evangelists in the world, and the only way to transform the sceptics is to give them tangible evidence that design works. My advice to the North Staffordshire Partnership would be to build on what already works in the region, rather than look to what other councils have done and try to emulate it. Think about the pottery industry and companies like JCB and local examples of best practice in design. The community as a whole will have to own the initiative for it to succeed. However, there will be different groups of people, each with its own agenda, but all wanting to be “champions of design”. The North Staffordshire Partnership will have to get these groups to work together for the common good.’

Jayne Barrett, Managing director, Elmwood

‘If boosting its creative industries is the focus of the identity initiative then surely this should start with North Staffordshire’s creative industries? It needs confidence, with a strong understanding of what makes them so unique and who is it talking to and why should they be interested in such an initiative. Ironically, to get that perspective may need an outside starting point.’

Jonathan Ford, Creative partner, Pearlfisher

‘Visit North Staffordshire.’

Shaun Dew, Creative director, Dew Gibbons

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