Royal Designers could become ‘unifying body for entire industry’

The Royal Designers for Industry could become a unifying and representative body for the entire design industry, according to new Master of the Faculty Malcolm Garrett.

Malcolm Garrett
Malcolm Garrett

Garrett’s vision for the future of the RDIs is as an organisation that bring together all design industry bodies – such as D&AD, the Design Council and the Design Business Association – and act to represent them.

He says, ‘We’re a body that doesn’t have a competitive agenda. We could bring people together and act as a clearing house for issues. So if it’s an issue for the Design Council we can point people in that direction, or if it’s for D&AD we can point them in another.’

He says the RDIs are perfectly placed to do this as the organisation is non-competitive and represents up to 200 of the best designers in the world.

He adds, ‘We have other advantages – like our home in the Royal Society for Arts. Politicians will visit us here, but they might not make it out to Shoreditch.’

Garrett says he has had early informal discussions with a number of design industry bodies – all of whom have been receptive to the plan. He says, ‘Obviously they value their independence, but they also want their voices to be heard more strongly.’

‘How this initiative might take shape is my immediate task,’ says Garrett, who is beginning his two-year tenure as Master.

He says that moves to set up an advisory board for the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group – set up by outgoing APDIG manager Jocelyn Bailey – could provide a structure for the project or support it.

Garrett takes up his role as Master of the Faculty of the Royal Designers for Industry this week.

This comes as seven new RDIs are being inducted: Paul Brown, Ian Cartlidge, Hussein Chalayan, Tony Meeuwissen, Sandy Powell, Patrick Woodroffe and Saeed Zahedi, alongside two honorary RDIs: Lidewij Edelkoort and Hartmut Esslinger.

Latest articles