Voxpop: The regions

As the regions exert greater strength in the design world, what are the issues that will affect designers in your area in 2007, and what would you like to see happen to promote regional design initiatives this year? The big issue is for South West consultancies to climb the value chain – becoming more strategic, more creative, more effective and more profitable. There are some welcome top-down initiatives starting to happen, but many are under-funded and painfully slow, or spread very thinly over a huge area. So they won’t be effective without designers pulling together to help themselves, bottom-up. Luckily, we now have design forums across the region to make this perfectly possible.

Phil Gendall, Founder, Gendall Design, and Cornwall Design Forum

There is some great design talent here, but to be able to sell their services outside of Wales more consultancies need to develop their offering above being a general practice and develop an understanding of specific issues such as smart technologies, sustainability and service design. As a regional design initiative we will work harder to make sure the commitment the Welsh Assembly Government has to design is not lost in any UK-wide initiatives or reviews in 2007.

Gavin Cawood, Senior design advisor, Design Wales

Dott 07 provides a unique opportunity to celebrate and build on the considerable energy and resources already invested in design throughout North East England.

Robert O’Dowd, Executive director, Dott 07

The big question on everyone’s lips is sustainable design. The industry is now in a major transition, where clients are making decisions based on the environment. It’s not jumping on the Green design bandwagon, it’s about how you operate as a business. Cornwall leads the way – buckets and spades are an image of the past.

Helen Blake, Managing director, Absolute Design, and Cornwall Design Forum

Irish designers are now more aware of global developments and are competing successfully outside our marketplace. It is vital that we communicate a cohesive design message to Government, industry and the public to contend with competition on a European level.

Cameron Ross, President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland

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