THE DESIGN ECONOMY – the value of design to the UK

 Here’s a compelling reason why we need a strong BIDA to make sure we are heard and to get our fair portion of support that UK Government seems to be keen to offer our profession.


The recently published Design Council report The Design Economy, is the first to look at ‘design’ across the whole UK economy and covers a wide spectrum from human centred design to technical design. It covers the period from 2009-2013 so whilst not exactly ‘up to the minute’ it contains some useful statistics that should help us – industrial designers – to do two things:-

  • Persuade clients and senior management alike that good design makes seriously sound commercial sense with success far outweighing the cost

  • Grow exports significantly whether through directly selling our services or by creating world class products

We are productive when measured against the UK workforce and as a subsector we are major contributors showing a growth of 63.2% in the period and along with architecture and the built environment collectively contributed £13.2bn to the UK economy. We might be the smaller of the two but its still an impressive figure.


Having worked together with the DBA (Design Business Association) and APDIG (All Party Design Industry Group) on a submission to Government the Design Council Report is further evidence of the increasing value and power of design in the economy.


The Design Economy Report is available as a download from Design Council website