We at design’s coal face need a modern day bible

I’m perplexed by Adrian Shaughnessy’s enthusiastic Private View on Dorothy Goslett’s book from the 1960s, The Professional Practice of Design (DW 5 August). Doubtless every page contains ‘a nugget or two of real wisdom’, but so does Mrs Beaton, and yet more people read Jamie Oliver these days.

The only nugget for me was her advice on finding clients: ‘This will be the main battle of your career… [to be constantly] finding clients to keep you going… more or less ceaselessly until you retire’. This is preaching to the converted for those of us who have to fuel consultancies with enough new business to survive and expand in a challenging economic climate. (I’m sure the ‘converted’ includes Jo Marsh, new business director of Shaughnessy’s consultancy Intro.)

The publisher should have commissioned an entirely new title, focused on winning new business. More appropriate surely than a 1960s re-issue that includes advice on how to estimate your coal bill?

I enjoyed Shaughnessy’s column on new business (DW 6 May) – though I disagreed with a lot of the content. There will always be those with new clients queuing at the door, but that’s not the case for most of us. Shaughnessy’s piece, like Goslett’s book, gives no real practical and regular advice.

Why doesn’t Design Week have a professional, informed voice that works in new business consultancy as a regular Private View columnist? And let’s have a brave soul at the Design Business Association or wherever to commission a book on the subject that can become the new designer’s bible for 2004, rather 1960.

Simon Barbato

Strategy and development director


Richmond TW10

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