It was timely to flag up the message (Comment, 13 November 2001) that there is a wealth of design research available to design professionals, which if tapped into would provide a valuable resource.
UK academic design department funding is contingent on staff contributing to quality research output. As a result, centres of specialist expertise have developed dealing with issues such as sustainability, disability and third age, transport, environmentally sensitive design, and a strong northern contribution to design and business.
While the argument for designers’ occasional scepticism about the value of marketing research remains, it is hard to understand the same apprehension being applied to work emanating from their own back yard.
Industrial Designers Society of America handles this divergence by bringing professionals and educators together at its annual conferences in order to exchange knowledge, and everyone benefits. We held a similar event at the Design Council in November last year.
Years of promotion have enabled designers to reach a stage of recognition in business and industry that they have constantly aspired to, but at a level that may not always do justice to the true range and value of their work.
Why should there be a limit on the scope of design activity and influence? Enhanced contextual knowledge would provide designers with a reservoir of innovative opportunities. The material is out there waiting to be sourced.
Associate professor of design management