The shift towards local representation for design has been gaining momentum.
The trail blazed by the Cornwall Design Forum has attracted followers from design communities across the UK, each having its own raison d’etre, but engaging more with local clients is a common goal.
Bristol Media was established in 2005 by Mike Bennett (pictured), co-founder of local digital group E3 Media. Networking was the main objective, bringing together design and advertising players in the Bristol area.
Over the past four years, Bennett and the management team at Bristol Media have created a directory of local creative groups and a Top 100 league table. There have been round-table debates and its first Long Lunch. It has also sought to help local businesses through recession with a scheme, based on Premier League football, to loan staff out to rivals in tough times rather than lose them to the local design community.
Bristol Media became a membership organisation in October last year, with Bennett working for it four days a week. Its mission for two years is to increase visibility of local consultancies to national and international audiences; to develop training, skills and enterprise initiatives; to foster a sense of community and knowledgesharing; and to represent sector and industry interests to local and national policymakers and opinion formers.