What will be the defining issue for the design world in 2008? What should designers be doing this year to ensure it is a successful one?

The year ahead could be a tight one for design and I believe it will be increasingly about designers really providing a return on design investment for their clients. As an industry we can be poor at doing this – we love creating, not counting. So, starting projects with this objective in mind and clearly establishing the metrics and methodology to achieve it will be critical. Clients are already looking hard at their expenditure – 2008 might make them look even harder.
Roger Proctor, Managing director, Proctor and Stevenson

I would say that 2008 must be the year in which the impact of design on the UK economy is fully recognised. We must encourage Government – and industry – to sit really up and take notice. Designers can demonstrate their worth by collaborating with industry, science and communities to provide solutions to social and economic challenges. Equally, there is an important role to play in changing the education system so that the skills that drive creativity and innovation are allowed to flourish.
Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief executive, Nesta

Something that will continue to be a challenge over the coming year is how to communicate the value of design and creativity in business while still being asked for free-pitch work. Design needs to be valued if we are to make the transition from striving to be a knowledge economy to having a truly thriving creative one. We all need to play our part in not undervaluing the work that we do.
Jaya Chakrabarti, Managing director, Nameless


The defining issue for UK designers this year will be their flexible response to the imminent downturn in the economy and their ability to consider opportunities in other countries. They will need to adopt a wider approach to the cultural influences of design and develop new business models which will see intellectual property as a common currency. If they invest in understanding this asset, they may well be able to benefit from what will surely be a prosperous era based on design thinking. Resting on your laurels in 2008 and, indeed, the future will not be an option.
Frank Peters, Chief executive, Chartered Society of Designers

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