Design is generally a caring community, with a host of charity initiatives on the go at any time. Design Week must have reported hundreds of bids by individual designers to raise cash for worthy causes, through anything from shaving their hair off to climbing mountains, while the majority of consultancies of any standing have pet charities with which they work for free – or for cost – on promotions and the like.
Involvement in high-profile industry charities such as British Design & Art Direction is much sought after, but probably more for the creative freedom that it entails and the kudos among peers than for any ‘do-gooding’ sentiment.
There is too the Design Business Association’s Design for Good venture, initiated by Colin Porter when he was DBA chairman with a fund-raising car rally in its repertoire, though we hear little about that these days. Meanwhile, John and Frances Sorrell continue their work to use design to improve life within schools and are hoping to extend Joinedupdesign to China, with the help of the British Council.
But how often do the great and the good come together in a Band Aid-style concerted effort to improve the world, or a small corner of it anyway?
It is remarkable therefore that Martin Lambie-Nairn has got a group of high-fliers across the creative industries to sign up to support Kids Company, a charity based in London’s Southwark to help children at risk because of the tough local environment.
The website, creativesonthecase.org.uk, explains the initiative more fully, but Lambie-Nairn’s aim is to raise £1.8m a year for three years through a creative take on pyramid-selling.
How good to see someone of Lambie-Nairn’s stature taking a leaf out of Sir Bob Geldof’s book to prompt action for a cause he believes in passionately. We can all learn from his example, and cash isn’t the only contribution designers can make.
Turning the tables
On another note, while not in any way an act of charity, it is good for design-awareness that Terence Conran is once more turning his attention to the mass market for furniture through the deal struck with Christie-Tyler (see News, page 5).
Things have changed for the better in the choice of modern furniture available since he launched Habitat almost 40 years ago with young couples in mind, but quality cabinet-making and upholstery haven’t always been available at high street prices.