Designers of all backgrounds need a common cause

I was interested to read Michael Peter’s comments (Letters, DW 15 September) about design becoming a commodity and the need for ‘one’ voice to underpin design’s value to business.


The design profession is going through a paradigm shift which will split the design profession into two groups. Group one will be the strategic creatives who understand their value as knowledge brokers and visual translators.


Group two will be the project chasers, who seek to win and complete a project and move swiftly on to the next one.


Group one will shift across to the innovation space and work collaboratively with other businesses and individuals.


Group two will, by and large, remain in the design supplier space, selling design as a physical activity.


Business will gravitate towards the group whose skills they require at any specific time.


Design groups only need to be clear about their offer when interacting with industry.


Designers are not all the same. There are many small and niche design membership organisations representing them across the UK, plus the representative bodies.


The challenge is not to merge them into one homogeneous blob, but instead seek to agree a common message that applies to all irrespective of size, location or discipline. An organisation that attempts to be all things to all men may well find its message lost in the wilderness.


Designers have a valuable role to play in society. This is evidenced by the myriad of design initiatives that focus on sustainability, inclusiveness, disability, crime and so on.


To borrow a quote from Stuart D Howe, which he borrowed and adapted from Henry Ford, ‘The highest use of knowledge is not to just make money but to make money do more for the betterment of life.’ Surely that is a cause that designers and industry can agree on.


Maxine Horn, Chief executive, British Design Innovation, Brighton BN1 4AE

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