Yorkshire sets initiatives in bid to spur design

Yorkshire launches a bid tomorrow to become a centre for design excellence, with a set of initiatives intended to stimulate the use of design in every aspect of local business.

Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers will attend the launch of the programme in Leeds which could lead to an alternative county logo to the traditional white rose emblem.

The scheme is organised by Networking for Industry, a non-profit-making organisation, set up by business and the Government to promote competitiveness in the business sector.

Funds of 50 000 have been raised for a research project which will measure the use of design by local companies, and examine ways of improving it. The research will culminate in a report containing “tangible results”, says Elmwood managing director Jonathan Sands, who is spearheading the programme.

“We haven’t got all the details finalised yet, but we will look to translate our findings into initiatives. If we find there is a lack of awareness in a certain area, for example, we would look to set up a seminar on that subject,” says Sands.

The initiative, named Yorkshire – European Region of Excellence, has received initial funding from the Design Council and local training and enterprise councils.

Sands is also looking for sponsorship and participation from local companies.

“I want as many local people and companies as possible to get involved in working groups. For example, how do they feel about the way Yorkshire is portrayed and how might that be usefully changed?” says Sands.

Sands hopes to draw up a brief for an alternative to Yorkshire’s white rose logo, based on discussions with local parties, which will be put out to tender.

Other initiatives include the design of a taxi, to symbolise Yorkshire in the same way that black cabs represent London, and a non-dribbling teapot to be manufactured by a Sheffield steel company.

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