Two issues have dominated the week – World Cup football, and particularly England’s faltering if successful performance which put much of the country on hold last Wednesday afternoon, and the Coalition Government’s Emergency Budget. And the design industry’s response couldn’t have been more polarised.
Everyone in design seems to have got the beers in to see Jermain Defoe take his team through to the last 16 – or went out to quaff them in pubs spilling out on to pavements. Somehow, Wimbledon doesn’t seem to elicit such passionate support.
But important though the football might be in building national spirit, the Budget has more far-reaching implications for design. As small businesses, design consultancies will win and lose through Chancellor George Osborne’s policies, while public sector spending cuts could have an impact on a whole raft of initiatives in which design plays a part.
So what was the reaction from industry bodies? Who knows. The Design Week team, which put a story online on Wednesday, received unsolicited responses to the Budget from the Royal Institute of British Architects, various property federations and engineering organisations within minutes of Osborne sitting down. There was a summary from design-friendly accountant Kingston Smith and a helpful missive from the Associate Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group outlining ‘The relevant bits for design, innovation and creative industries’, but nothing from our own bodies.
Where was the Design Business Association in all this? As design’s trade association, you might expect it to express a view and guidance to its members. Less so from the Chartered Society of Designers, though the individuals who largely comprise its membership might welcome guidance from their professional body as to what the Budget means for them.
These bodies may not have economists on their teams, but they know where to find expert advice so why not give it? What do you think professional bodies should offer on these occasions as part of the membership?
This reticence to react isn’t just limited to Budget issues. There is very little voiced ‘officially’ in the media about design that doesn’t come from the Design Council these days – and it is not a membership body in design and still in the pay of the Government.
Time to get scribing, folks. The field is open for new media champions for design to raise debate beyond the entertainment-driven TV shows that generally portray design in one aspect only.