The design economy – new Design Council evidence on the value of design

This year is Design Council’s 70th anniversary, and fittingly, yesterday the government’s Global Investment Conference shone a spotlight on design, creativity and innovation. Prominent international design and innovation figures along with business leaders, the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Mayor of London discussed how Britain’s world-renowned design capabilities boost productivity and deliver real value to the UK economy.

The British government was the first government in the world to recognise the power of design when it set up the Council of Industrial Design, now known as Design Council. The UK now has the largest design sector in Europe and the second largest in the world. Our design expertise is in demand across the globe, attracting inward investment and boosting exports.

Headline figures from Design Council’s new research The Design Economy were released yesterday, showing that design contributes £72bn to the UK economy (7.7% of GVA). Design as a discipline benefits and cuts across the whole UK economy, rather than a single industry.

This new evidence is the result of a large research project, led by Design Council in partnership with various organisations.* It builds on previous Design Council research, including Design Industry Insights 2010, but takes a wider definition of design by analysing ONS data to better understand the value of design across the UK economy.

The design economy is adding jobs at more than three times the national average.

The Design Economy refers to value created by those employed in design roles in a wide variety of industries – from design intensive sectors such as web design or animation, to designers and design-engineers in automotive or aerospace companies.

The design economy is adding jobs at more than three times the national average. 1.6m people (5% of the UK workforce) were employed across the design economy in 2014. Design’s contribution has grown at a faster rate than the UK average. Much of this growth is being propelled by a flourishing digital design sector that has seen GVA grow by 39% from 2009-2013.

Innovative design and digital companies including Sugru, City Mapper, Blippar, Shazam and Framestore featured as part of the panel sessions. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, joined by video message confirming that Facebook recently invested in a UK virtual reality company, recognising the UK’s exceptional design talent.

The full report with detailed methodology will be launched at the end of October – register your interest now.

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