Let’s think carefully about the aim of design events

I support wholeheartedly the principles of Design Indaba (DW 3 March).

For some ten years now, I have chaired a conference called Four Designers, set up with Quentin Newark. We often tussle with Ravi Naidoo for speakers. Held in London every spring (and every other year in New York), it is attended by creative students from throughout the UK, as well as groups from North America and Europe.

Our aim has always been to get speakers to talk about life as a designer, from making the most of education, to getting their foot in the door, to having the first set of concepts rejected – and all points in between. This focus on the reality of life as a creative person is what every speaker has brought to the event, and I believe it is this focus – on the role of the event within the context of a student’s development – that makes it special.

With discretionary spending being under focus, and time being precious, I think the primary rethink in design events is to what end they are held.

Certainly in the case of an audience formed from the next generation of designers, facing increasingly tough competition for jobs and mounting financial pressure, the focus of this particular design event has never been more important.

Patrick Baglee, Founder, Four Designers, by e-mail

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