A week in British design

A few things that happened this week: work started on the Design Museum’s new home in South Kensington, Sir Jonathan Ive and the entire Apple design team flew to London to pick up two lifetime achievement awards from D&AD, and hundreds of exhibitions and installations opened as part of the 2012 London Design Festival.

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The design industry is, rightly, headline news across the country this week, with features on the BBC Today Programme and coverage in national newspapers.

But, as a lot of this coverage has pointed out, why is it that an industry that can bring such colour, joy, and let’s not forget, so much money to the country, so maligned by Government?

Why, for example, did Prime Minister David Cameron appoint as his new Culture Secretary Maria Miller – admittedly a former ad exec, but someone with no track record in culture, and with a Who’s Who entry that reportedly lists no recreational interests beyond raising children?

Jonathan Ive and the Apple design team at the DAD Awards
Jonathan Ive and the Apple design team at the D&AD Awards

And why – as widely covered here and elsewhere – is there such a lack of interest from Government in creative education and supporting young talent?

D&AD, for example, is so fed with the situation that it is launching its own D&AD Foundation, which will feed surplus D&AD cash back into a foundation to support young creatives.

As incoming D&AD president Neville Brody said at the organisation’s 50th birthday party, ‘This is something our Government could and should take more interest in, but it doesn’t.’

The Trafalgar Square sound portal, part of London Design Festival
The Trafalgar Square sound portal, part of London Design Festival

Weeks like this are, as Sir Terence Conran said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Design Museum ‘an opportunity to persuade Government of the importance of design in this country’.

This week has certainly been a persuasive one – but is Government paying any attention?

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