Design Council plans for 1996

Design Council chairman John Sorrell says the council’s 1996 programme will help UK industry to compete both at home and abroad.

The 1996 programme includes the formation of a partnership with the Royal Society of Arts and the British Council to promote UK companies overseas, says a council spokeswoman.

Titled Excellence By Design, the partnership will study what sorts of promotion, such as trade events, will work in different countries. The spokeswoman says the partnership’s campaigns will begin in September and run through to 2001.

The council is planning a week of business initiatives for late October. Design in Business Week will include a conference on design’s contribution to competitiveness. The week coincides with a new design exhibition planned by Design Week’s sister organisation Centaur Exhibitions.

The week will also launch a self-audit for Business Links and their small-firm clients. Currently being developed, it will “motivate them to use design to better effect”, says the spokeswoman.

And the council appears to have ditched ideas to resurrect its own separate awards scheme. Instead, Sorrell announced that the council will introduce design awards into existing business awards in areas such as finance, exports and manufacturing.

The award winners will then attend a council awards ceremony where the Prince Philip Prize will be awarded to the designer of the year.

For education, the council is to pilot a Design in Education Week of activities in March before a full running in spring 1997.

At last month’s Design Council dinner, design minister Ian Taylor endorsed design’s role in boosting the role of UK industry in the world arena. “We must use all our wits to compete in a competitive world environment,” he said.

“Design is one of those wits.”

Taylor urged the council to “tell me again how to tackle better awareness [of design] at home”. The council has, he said, already helped Government in decentralising of services through the Business Link network, which now boasts 18 design counsellors.

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