Editor’s blog

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.

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  • Adam Fennelow November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The DBA did get a call from DW to comment on the article… on Thursday – the day of our Board meeting, which meant the directors were unable to comment immediately.

    No one in the DBA, as far as I am aware, saw your article on Wednesday (the paywall may have played a part in this), but if we had, we would no doubt have commented at the time.

    The Drum magazine called for a comment within 2 hours of the budget finishing and I gave my thoughts and advice as I saw it at the time. You can see their article here http://bit.ly/aORK0x

    We feel that this latest Budget will have a large impact on our members’ working environment over the coming year so have organised an event on 8 July called The New Political Landscape – Understanding the Impact on your Business.

    The event will feature Mandy Merron and Tim Stovold, both partners at Kingston Smith, who will discuss the impact of the new “Age of Austerity” on design businesses. Details can be found here http://bit.ly/9nClR6

    If Design Week would like a press pass to this event to report the findings to their readership we would be happy to oblige.

  • Frank Peters November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    CSD knows exactly where to find expert opinion and also where not and has therefore recommended to its members the analysis by PwC, and for those with more time, the full text of the speech by the Chancellor.

    The Society, having a large individual membership, has also provided its members with a link to a personal budget calculator.

    CSD also has members who own, manage and work in design consutancies or in-house design teams, at the last count this was in the region of app. 1,000. We have therefore also directed members to the DBA event on the 8 July.

    Our CSD magazine stand also recommends to members the most appropriate publications for their particular field of practice – details at http://www.csd.org.uk/index.aspx?id=192
    – where we recommend they read the FT for serious budget comment and indeed all business news related to design.

    If Design Week would like to point designers to http://www.csd.org.uk then they will be able to avail themselves of this useful information.

    Of course being in the pay of the government allows the Design Council to monopolise design communications and I agree with you that the sector deserves good media champions. Your readers may get the impression that there is very little voiced ‘officially’ by CSD in the media because Design Week have chosen, for reasons beknown to them, not to champion and report on the last two major initiatives for the design sector from CSD, being the CSD Course Accreditation Programme in May and the launch of Design Pool with 27,000 members in March.

    For those who have been denied this information they can catch up on the CSD website at http://www.csd.org.uk.

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