The second year of the Design Show has been and gone. It may now be a good time to look at what the show is for and ask whether it works for the design industry as a whole, let alone the exhibitors themselves.
Is it a market where buyers can view the work of agencies big or brave enough to put themselves on display? Many exhibitors took space based on the promised visitor profile, but there must be a big question over how the show was marketed and whether the right people were attracted. The consensus seems to be: too many students and fellow designers, too few buyers. The organisers should provide a way of measuring success other than raw numbers through the door. Should there not be a mechanism for visitors to feed back their views?
How well did the seminar programme work with the show itself? If their purpose was to showcase excellence and expertise, why were so many delegates left grumbling about the quality? The seminars should have been the perfect opportunity to raise the store of our industry.
With few outlets for the design industry to demonstrate its expertise, it would be a tragedy if it failed because it became just another average trade fair.
Brigid McMullen and Martin Devlin