‘It seems that a straightforward two-pronged approach would be enormously helpful to British industry. Firstly, rewarding, valorising and promoting the high-quality British industry that we do have. Showing why British-made is better, if more expensive. This, together with long-term financial incentives to companies wanting to develop UK-based manufacturing of any size, would be invaluable. Design has an important role to play in creating good products for British industry – but I see this as about developing the manufacturing industry rather than the design industry.
Sebastian Bergne, creative director, Sebastian Bergne
‘Manufacturing in the UK will increasingly start make sense as the Asian home markets have more clout; as domestic wage levels rise, and stability of supply becomes even more of a concern for British retailers who have become reliant on the Far East. We will not be able to fully capitalise on these imminent opportunities unless we persuade future generations that making things is fun, cool and satisfying: this starts at school and in the home. However, with the government cajoling schools to adopt the seriously flawed English Baccalaureate, which devalues “making” and creativity, and family evenings based on watching TV rather than getting out the colouring pens, Lego or Meccano, we may be poorly placed…’
Wayne Hemingway, co-founder, Hemingway Design
‘The UK holds a wealth of human resource with a potentially winning mix of inventors, technologists and creatives. If we can become more resourceful and purposefully connect the right networks together, new ideas will spark. Areas to watch are those around closed loop-manufacturing, which keeps valuable and recovered resources in the UK, and could help feed new industries. Design is a key link to these circular systems. Designing a product’s end of life at the beginning will become crucial.’
Sophie Thomas, founding director, Thomas Matthews and joint design director, The Royal Society of Arts
‘UK manufacturers who are increasing their business are doing so through the development of new and high-quality materials, processes, products and services, bringing together expertise not only from our own world-class capabilities in science and technology, but also from our globally respected strengths in creativity and design. UK manufacturers benefit from shorter supply chains, with associated environmental benefits, and the deeper integration with product development. The profit and growth of such UK manufacturing surely serves as great encouragement for other businesses to manufacture their products in Britain.’
Ellie Runcie, director of leadership, Design Council