100% let down for young Foundation members

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The Foundation is a European Union-funded design business development consortium.

We offer 12 fellowships each year to allow some of the best design graduates to develop their aspirations. Part of our programme places the fellow in a number of design/manufacture shows, which allows us to test the product ranges against reality.

We recently attempted to show at 100% Design (which we did last year with great success). Twelve designers submitted product images and background data to the selectors. We received a call stating no, because they thought we were “too crafty”.

To add insult to injury, I was asked to pick what I thought were the best of the bunch and re-submit. The Fellowship Committee – because that’s the way we work – chose from among themselves a reselection.

Out of nine, we were told 100% Design had chosen three. Presumably these were not “crafty”. Do the show’s organisers appreciate the hurt they have caused to this group of talented designers in dealing with this superficial arbitrary rejection method?

Could it be that 100% Design is losing its focus – and maybe is unaware of current thinking in how product design looks at environmental issues, interaction with the user and innovation transfer – or is it just superficial product hype?

Am I out of touch, or could it be that this Cool Britannia spin doctor hype approach is the way of the world, or can well thought out yet still exciting product design make its undoubted crucial contribution to the economic welfare of the UK?

Alf Merricks


The Foundation

Wolverhampton WV2 4AN

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