Design matters…

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

It would be nice to think that the value of design to the UK’s economy would not need highlighting. However, the reality is that it is often a misunderstood concept and consequently underappreciated.

The Design Council has done its bit to remedy this by releasing its report entitled ‘Design Economy 2018’, in which the charity shows how design firms and designers are playing a more prominent role in the global economy and the fourth industrial revolution. It also highlights the impact of design far into the UK economy, with the majority of its value (68%) generated by designers working in sectors including aviation and automotive.

According to the report, the design economy grew by 52% between 2009-16, generating £85.2bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK in 2016, equivalent to 7% of total GVA in the UK. It added that 1.69 million people were employed in design in 2016, making the design economy the ninth largest employer in the UK.

Despite all this, design tends to be overlooked as a revenue-generating discipline in and of itself. It is often wrongly perceived as simply a preparatory stage to the ‘real’ business of manufacture, marketing and selling.

But, as these figures make clear, design is a very real source of revenue in and of itself. Underestimate it at your peril.


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