UK design aims for higher profile

The design industry’s key representatives have promised a raft of initiatives to bring the profession to greater prominence both at home and abroad in 2001.

The Chartered Society of Designers will instate Stephen Hitchins as its new president, clothes designer Jeff Banks as president elect, and Frank Peters as chief executive. It is also launching a “large scale” awards covering all design disciplines, says Peters, and it is introducing a new identity in the summer. A consultancy has yet to be appointed.

British Design & Art Direction will unveil its agenda for 2001 at the end of January, but has already revealed plans for an inter-national creative forum called Superhumanism, with the Government, industry and creatives working together on projects.

The Design Business Association is expanding its awards to become the International Design Effectiveness Awards, reflecting growing interest from consultancies and clients abroad, says DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill.

It is increasing its programme promoting UK design business overseas, working with organisations such as Trade Partners. “We aim to create an important forum for promoting UK design as an export,” says Rowland-Hill. It is also launching a new publication, designed by The Team, offering an overview of the DBA’s activities and a complete list of members, in January.

The Design Council has unveiled the name of its new exhibition, Great Expectations, which it is promoting as the “centre-piece” of the UKinNY festival in October, celebrating British achievements across different fields. Organised in conjunction with the British Council, Great Expectations will show in New York’s Grand Central Station. Designed by Casson Mann, it aims to raise the profile of British products and services abroad. After leaving New York, it will travel through the US and the Far East.

“The UK’s image abroad, a major impact on export success, needs to reflect its strengths in design, innovation and creativity,” says Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers. “UK design groups must look to respond to international competition.”

The Design Council is relaunching its website in the summer to include more in-depth content, and is about to appoint an external design consultancy. It is expanding its Design in Business and Design in Education initiatives.

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