Design boom boosts fee and staff levels

The extent of last year’s UK design boom is apparent in the latest Design Week survey, with fee earnings and staffing up by almost a quarter for the Top 100 consultancies.

The much-publicised decline in e-business has, however, had an impact on the charts, with few of the major players in digital design showing a big improvement in financial performance.

Top 100 groups, ranked according to design-fee income for the year to December 2000, reported collective fees of £614m for the year, up 24 per cent on 1999. Staff numbers were up 22 per cent to 8202, with designers accounting for 37 per cent of the total.

WPP Group-owned Enterprise IG holds on to pole position, with design fees of some £53m billed through its London office. Its nearest challenger is Imagination, with UK fees of almost £38m, but its global rival FutureBrand, Interpublic Group’s branding network, has moved up into third slot, with UK fees of almost £21.5m.

Among the digital groups, Wheel – formed from the merger of and Foresight – ranks highest, in fourth position with fees of almost £21.5m. Icon Medialab makes its debut in ninth slot, with fees of almost £12m last year. But ailing digital giant Razorfish declined to take part.

Survey results are based on a questionnaire circulated to Design Week readers and others.

The analysis was carried out with help from Ian Cochrane, chairman of management consultancy Ticegroup.

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