2020 Vision - The UK Design Industry in 2020

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: Sch of Arts & Media


The project focuses on researching the challenges facing the UK design industry over the next decade, and will consult agencies, clients, trade associations, and journalists, HEIs (design course directors), economists and policy makers via a range of interviews and surveys to establish a blueprint for the industry. As such, the proposal supports the AHRC's call for leading edge design research, which explores new modes of design thinking suitable for the challenges facing 21st century society.

Various government initiatives have looked at technology and enterprise. However, the creative industries (and particularly the 71k employees in the commercial design, as opposed to designer-maker, sector) have not received the attention they warrant, despite the fact that creative capabilities lie at the core of the UK's ability to compete, substantiated in a study by the DTI (Economics paper No. 15, Creativity, Design and Business Performance). Of course other organisations within the sector, the Design Council's remit is now focused on championing the use of creative skills in buisness and society, and on design as an export commodity rather than on policy in the design industry itself, whilst the newly formed Creative industry Sector Skills Council has focused on skills provision.

It is proposed that the University of Salford will survey design managers, design course directors and graduates/alumni across the UK and EU and through their extensive overseas design links, HEI's in China, Korea and India. This will be undertaken with a number of key industry partners.

British Design Innovation (BDI), a not-for-profit membership organisation representing 95% of the commercial design industry and a key industry partner, will: (1) provide access to data resources, the design community and opinion formers; (2) play a direct part in surveying its members online across 6 of the 10 thematic issues and (3) participate in the development and delivery of focus group workshops and seminars, deploying research staff seconded from Salford. This approach will be complemented by in-depth interviews coordinated by Salford with trade associations, commentators and policy-makers, and applying a Delphi method to cross-compare perspective and determine emergent trends. The remaining industry partners will participate in the development of case studies and a number of research themes.


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