#Includedesign was launched in response to Government plans to exclude design-related subjects from the English Baccalaurate curriculum, which could be introduced in 2017.
When plans emerged that creative subjects would be excluded from the ‘five-pillar’ Ebacc system, arts leaders including Grayson Perry and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota spoke out against the proposals.
This move, at the beginning of November, inspired Ustwo design director Joe Macleod two start a design-focused campaign, which has so far led to a huge #Includedesign social media groundswell, an open letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove signed by Sir Jonathan Ive, Sir Terence Conran, the Design Council and many others (including Design Week), and support for a petition to consultation on Ebacc (which closed at the start of the week).
With a final decision on the Ebacc structure due in the New Year, the ultimate success of the #Includedesign design campaign is so far unclear.
But what is clear about #Includedesign is its success in bringing the design industry together for a good cause (something that happens frustratingly rarely).
There were several things that the #Includedesign campaign did well as it started up. It was focused on a clearly defined goal – including design at a particular stage of education.
With design education at all levels – from primary to postgraduate – in such jeopardy, the issue can at times seem too big to get a handle on. By choosing a simple and emotive strand of design education, #Includedesign created an accessible campaign.
The simple device of creating a hashtag title helped the campaign quickly go viral in the connected social media design world, and a well-stuffed contacts book ensured that influential people organisations, from the Design Council and D&AD to consultancies such as Fitch and LBi, were on-board early.
The design industry, as is often noted, is a broad, disparate and occasionally fragmented beast. While most people in the industry think along the same lines – certainly when it comes to issues such as design education – actually bringing people together for effective action is an incredibly difficult thing to do.
As such, regardless of the eventual result of the #includedesign, the very fact that it united disparate organisations from Stella McCartney to the Design Business Association and architect Lord Foster to Vice magazine, is something to be celebrated.