The Design Economy

Design Council commissioned our team (while at TBR) to undertake an important and ground-breaking research study which articulated the value of design in the UK. The key challenge for Design Council was to present a comprehensive assessment of the value and importance of design to the UK economy.

Previous methodologies had been limited in that they relied on vertical definitions of design and therefore covered only a proportion of the sector. Advancements in measuring sector scale and importance had been made in the creative industries, leading to the adoption of new techniques and the acceptance of the results of these techniques by the UK government. Initially, Design Council employed us to deliver a scoping study which explored definitions of the sector and proposed a modified version of the creative industries approach as the basis for a more complete and detailed assessment of the size and importance of the design economy.

The main study required us to implement this sophisticated methodology and to deliver a detailed analysis, calling on our analytical skills and our understanding of national statistics and related data sources. The study required us to make extensive use of the ONS Secure Research Service and to manipulate and analyse data within that environment.

Our final report presented the economic impact of design in terms of employment, GVA and exports, the impact of design micro-businesses, the shape and size of the design sector and the use and under-use of design within the economy. Our report was combined with other research, such as a sector survey and case studies, and published as The Design Economy.

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