How to strengthen the reputation of British design? Fitch, Hat-Trick Design and Lynda Relph-Knight discuss
Industry experts from the design world have weighed in on the ongoing debate of how to promote British design, with Fitch chief creative officer Tim Greenhalgh and design consultant Lynda Relph-Knight offering up clashing opinions about the role the government has to play.
Speaking to The Drum Greenhalgh said that the onus for strengthening the reputation of British design lies with the industry itself, and dismissed the idea that the government should wade in on the issue.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time about how what we do is both represented and celebrated,” he said. “And the more I think about it the more I think the government shouldn’t get involved. It’s up to us to sort it out; we need to be much better at promoting, celebrating and representing what we do.”
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Greenhalgh added that the industry is best placed to promote itself because it has the “passion and fervour” to do so, as well as a deep understanding of what British design is.
By contrast Relph-Knight hopped on the other side of the fence and said that the government could do an “awful lot more” to push the reach of British design, beginning with education, and added that the subject should feature more heavily on the curriculum.
“I think that the British government could do an awful lot more to enhance the reputation and reach of British design. I think though, it really does need to start with education. I know it’s an old subject but it’s not going away and the government is ignoring design education from schools upwards.”
Relph-Knight warned that the country is in danger of losing the strong reputation it has for design talent if the government doesn’t address the balance at an educational level.
“That to me is the biggest single thing; enhancing education, building education, and putting design at the centre of the curriculum instead of sidelining it.
Jim Sutherland,founder of Hat-Trick Design agreed, but added that the overall view of design needs to be rebooted.
“[It needs to be realised] that design is not some sort of add-on to industry but actually is fundamental to a lot of income generation and work within the UK and it should be celebrated rather than being viewed as a weak subject.”