Emily Campbell, director of design at the Royal Society of Arts, has spoken out in favour of public competitions, saying the exposure they give design outweighs the loss of fees.
Speaking to Design Week in the wake of controversy caused by the Royal Mint’s 50p coin public design competition, Campbell says, ‘I think [public competitions] are justified as they give non-designers an insight into the problem-finding and problem-solving processes that designers go through.
‘The loss of fees going to a small number of design consultancies is a small price to pay for giving wide exposure to design through projects of conspicuous public interest.’
Campbell had earlier written about the Royal Mint’s competition on the RSA’s Design and Society blog, saying, ‘The Design Business Association has urged professional designers not to enter the Royal Mint competition because there are no fees, saying, “In the current economic climate it is more important than ever that design businesses maintain a healthy profit margin.”
‘I’d say in the current civic climate it’s more important than ever that the public understands what designers do.’
Her viewpoint is echoed by David Kester, chief executive of the Design Council, who says of the Royal Mint’s competition, ‘Britain has a long history of public design competitions, and while we don’t support professional free-pitching, there are times when it’s right to give the whole nation the opportunity to get creative.’
Read more on this story in tomorrow’s issue of Design Week.