When the Design Council decided to refresh the use of their brand identity, one of the first pieces of branded communication they produced was the 'Industry Insights' supplement. In Autumn 2009 the Design Council conducted its second comprehensive survey of the UK Design Industry and published their findings in a useful document for professional designers. The survey is the biggest of its kind for 5 years, it is a result of a series of interviews and therefor represents a designers views of the industry. Below is a summary of the document:
- 55,310 - Undergraduate design students in the UK
Currents in Design This section discusses how the credit crunch has had an impact on the industry and how it has changed over the past 5 years.
- Demand for design services still strong - Will Hutton, Director of the Work Foundation, identifies a strong consumer demand for experiential services.
- Design fees are increasing
- Design consultancies on average employ less than 10 staff
- 1 in 10 of these consultancies compete outside of the UK
- The no. of freelancers and micro-design businesses are growing
- The no. of consultancies are decreasing but staff numbers are increasing
- Only 2% of design businesses are based in the North East compared to a massive 23% in London
- The North East performs well in Interior and Industrial design (which is due to our history in these areas)
The Design Council suggests that improving and measuring business performance still needs to be addressed. An interesting result from the survey was that consultancies today tend to rely on winning new clients every year, rather than thinking long term and building a relationship with existing design buyers.
"Design consultancies and freelancers say that on average 43% of their fee income came from new clients during 2008-9"
The International Competition Debate This section adresses the need for designers to compete globally and discusses how this may affect their business.
- Global competition among designers is increasing
- Growth of design in other countries is affecting British designers
- 90% of British design businesses however say their main competition still comes from the UK
- Becoming internationally connected is vital to staying competitive
Michael Wolff suggests we need to question our value as designers, what can we add that other countries may not?