Why parents should aspire for their children to be designers

Earlier this week I went to the presentation of the Design Museum’s Design Ventura Award – an initiative for 13-16-year-olds, who are tasked to create a product to be sold in the Design Museum’s shop.

The winning Design Ventura team from Burnage Academy for Boys
The winning Design Ventura team from Burnage Academy for Boys

This year the worthy winner was the Kard’Lapse product – a device for connecting playing cards together to build structures – created by a team from Burnage Academy for Boys.

One of the key aims of Design Ventura (as well as other schemes such as the Sorrell Foundation’s Saturday Clubs) is to show youngsters why they should consider a career in design and during the evening I was asked what advice I would give to children considering a career in design.

My advice was “do it” and here’s why:

• Design is great fun.

• Designers have the opportunity to shape all of our futures.

But, most compellingly,

• Design is hugely economically powerful.

As we saw from the Government’s creative industry figures a couple of weeks ago, designs contribution to the UK economy is growing faster than practically any other sector. Design is growing at twice the rate of the wider creative industries, which themselves are growing at three times the rate of the economy as a whole.

The creative industries as a whole contribute a whopping £8.8 million to the UK economy every HOUR. And as more than one person has pointed out, the creative industries has never called for a Government bailout and never increased the national debt.

Last night’s Design Business Association Effectiveness Awards provided more compelling evidence of design’s value. The Grand Prix winner, Alloy’s BT Home Hub 5 design, has gained BT more than half a million new subscribers. Other compelling stories included Decide & Peter Windett’s redesign of Fortnum & Mason’s teas, which increased sales by 103 per cent, and Design Bridge’s Beer Lao Gold rebrand, which saw sales shoot up by a staggering 883 per cent.

For these reasons, I told the Design Ventura crowd, parents should think very carefully about their children’s careers.

If they want their children to support them in their old age they should encourage them not to become doctors, or lawyers, or bankers, but to become designers – and join the UK economy’s brightest sector.

Hide Comments (1)Show Comments (1)
  • Nick Corston November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hurrah – great piece and an absolutley spot on insight, though the coming together of left and right brain thinking is the killer combination STEM + A = STEAM

    The UK is on the verge of a creativity crisis and we’re trying to our bit at STEAM Co.

    We call on ALL UK creatives, artists and designers to sign up.

    Yes, it’s your turn.


  • Post a comment

Latest articles