• New Design Council Report Shows Industry Growth of 53% Since 2009, and Why Design is Important

    July 07, 2018
    • New Design Council Report Shows Industry Growth of 53% Since 2009, and Why Design is Important

    Design Council showing industry growth of 52 per cent since 2009 and stressing the need to harness design skills across sectors.

    The Design Economy 2018 is the Design Council's report on the state of design in the UK, and its value to the economy. It expands on our previous research in 2015, and in addition to exploring the supply of design firms and designers, also explores how the rest of the UK business population interacts with them, and what the demand for design is.

    The Design Economy 2018 highlights the substantial contribution design makes to the UK. This value is growing. As advanced economies such as the UK embrace new technologies and business models, the demand for design skills and knowledge is building, and building at pace.

    This presents a significant opportunity for the UK during a period of economic and social change. Addressing the UK’s stagnant productivity, its regional imbalance and its response to global economic change requires new economic foundations. It requires access to skills and assets that drive innovation, accelerate growth and provide higher value, resilient jobs across the country.

    Headline findings

    • The design economy generated £85.2bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK in 2016. Between 2009 and 2016 the GVA of the design economy grew by 52%,
    • In 2016, there were 1.69m people employed in design roles, and there are 78,030 design-intensive firms operating in the UK (2017)
    • The UK’s design workforce is mostly male (78%), which is higher than compared to the wider UK workforce, which is 53% male. This is also despite women making up 63% of all students studying creative arts and design courses at university
    • We have found that design is becoming more concentrated in London and the South East, not less. One in three design firms are now based in the capital, with one in five design workers also operating in London
    • Sixty per cent of firms use design in some way, as defined using the Design Ladder. And more than two-fifths of our survey respondents agreed that the use of design within their organisation has contributed to an increase in sales turnover, increased business competitiveness and increased awareness and recognition of the brand and/or raised brand loyalty
    • In 2015, UK firms invested £14.7bn in design. When firms invest in design, they are more likely to invest in other intangible assets such as R&D and get them working in synergy to generate new innovations and create additional value
    • Our analysis shows that when firms invest in design, they are more likely to generate innovations, resulting in improvements to levels of productivity.

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