Are the UK’s creative industries valued, and is industrial design a part of this?

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Are you a designer, engineer or somewhere in-between?

Last week saw the launch of Create Britain, an initiative to support creative professionals in the UK and to get the sector the recognition it feels it is lacking from the prime minister and his government.

With other industries often drowning out the creative sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP it’s important to remember that the UK is still a design powerhouse – from film and TV, to graphic and product design.

However, those that could be described as the more common product designers – bridging fluffy aesthetics and more intense engineering due to abilities made available though advancing technology – seem to be in a limbo.

Where do they find the high profile support from? Engineering bodies are out to promote the cause of British engineering, while creative bodies promote the other – which camp do you find yourself in?
Creativepool’s Create Britain campaign has key creatives from various fields showing their support by signing the ‘Create Britain Charter’, and directing open letters to the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

Yet not everything is reliant on government backing.

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British-themed design shows are popping up under their own steam around the world – the most recent being a collaboration between 100% Design and Vivienne Westwood.

Coming to life over the duration of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan Design Week this April, the installation is a showcase of ‘New British’ furniture, lighting and other consumer goods.

So is this the path that product designers need to follow to showcase their skills? Currently much of what has been showcased is creative in its aesthetics and not so much in its purpose – with such installations relating more to the visceral sensations of a product, rather than its engineered prowess.

Although such homewares are impressively designed and built, it is fair to say that the teams behind the majority of great British designs are not getting the wider appreciation that they deserve.

Collaborative efforts are promoing British designs on a global scale, but much of it is decorative furniture and lighting

Currently, one of the few ways for the design team of a company to receive direct recognition is by speaking at a conference [such as DEVELOP3D Live, just over a week away].

Whether a campaign for Create Britain will address those in the grey area between traditional design and traditional engineering I’m unsure, but as the economy struggles to get back to its feet, the innovative design and engineering skills of the UK are surely a beacon of hope that should be fully promoted to the rest of the world.

At DEVELOP3D we’re currently working hard to bring you some of the stories of current great British designs, and give the skills of their teams the recognition they deserve.