- Some of our partners fund projects that demonstrate what design can do to tackle national challenges.
- Others help us provide our support programmes to private and public sector decision makers.
- And others work with us to make the design industry as strong as it can be.
With all our partners we have mutually beneficial relationships - we provide their audiences with information and insight about design while they provide us with a way to promote design to a wider audience.
The Design Council is an independent charity. We receive a grant from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
We work together with both departments on promoting the use of design throughout UK businesses and public sector and demonstrating that design can play a vital role in strengthening our economy and improving our society.
Many organisations share our objective to help business perform better, so it makes sense for us to join forces where we can, and together achieve our aims better.
UK Trade & Investment
The Design Council and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) share the aim to enhance the competitiveness of the UK through the services we deliver to business. We are working together to ensure a strategic and joined up approach to international promotion of the UK design sector, to support UK business to make the best of UK’s creativity and ingenuity and raise awareness of the importance of design to make the UK more competitive and creative. UKTI has worked with us to showcase prototypes of our work at World Trade Fairs and been instrumental in linking up our Design Associates with International Trade Advisors.
British Chambers of Commerce
We and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) are working together to drive a shared campaign to promote the value of design to business as a way to help them meet the challenges of the recession and support the growth of the UK economy. We are collaborating on delivering Business Growth Clubs that offer practical support to businesses through the chamber network. At the Clubs, BCC members are introduced to our Designing Demand programme to increase awareness of the value of design in supporting business growth.
Technology Strategy Board
We are working with the Technology Strategy Board to foster innovation in UK firms through new design and technology partnerships. The Technology Strategy Board has been involved in our work in Dott Cornwall and provided funding for the Mobile Phone Security Challenge which brought together teams of designers and technologists to make mobile phones more crime-proof. It's also our partner on a new project called Independence Matters, which is investigating how designers and technologists can enable older people to remain as independent as possible.
We work with partners to identify problems and create the right projects to solve them.
Our partnership with the Home Office has led to Design out Crime, a series of investigations into how design can cut the risk of crime. The project as a whole is steered by the Home Office’s Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime, which as well as ourselves includes designers Sebastian Conran and Michael Wolff plus representatives from Central St Martins College of Art & Design, the Sorrell Foundation, Bristol University, Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, Technology Strategy Board, Metropolitan Police and the Royal College of Art. The programme includes work on specific areas of crime, such as hot products, housing, education, business and alcohol-related crime. Each is led by a member of the Alliance.
Department of Health
With their close co-operation and funding we have run projects with the Department of Health that show how design can improve healthcare – by limiting the risk of hospital infections in Design Bugs Out, improving patients’ experience of hospital in Design for Patient Dignity and making A&E departments calmer and safer in Reducing violence and aggression in A&E by design.
We worked with Southern Water on the Low Water Living project to introduce water metering across the company’s region and educate people of all ages about the value of sustainable water use.
Our Cornwall Partners
Designs of the Time (Dott), our rolling programme of design events and projects in UK regions, ran in partnership with regional government and other organisations. Partners for the current Dott Cornwall programme were Cornwall Council, University College Falmouth, Technology Strategy Board and Convergence, the European economic regeneration investment agency.
Design Industry Partners
We work closely with the design industry, its trade and membership bodies as well as national and regional networks to deepen and broaden the skills of professional designers. Some of the organisations we collaborate with include:
As the trade association for the UK design industry, the Design Business Assocation (DBA) helps to make design consultancies, and businesses that invest in design, more professional and well adapted to one another’s needs. The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, to mention just the highest profile example, have played a vital role in helping to demonstrate the commercial value of good design. In addition to the services and bridge-building activities, a key part of the DBA's role is to represent the design industry in the wider world - in particular, in its dealings Government and the media. The DBA helps us to publicise our work to their members, supporting our events with speakers and supporting initiatives together.
British Design Innovation (BDI) is the representative voice to industry of established strategic designers operating in the innovation space. There are 500 members, 30 affiliates and 30,000 registered companies. These members include commercial design firms, brand owners, academia investors and innovation intermediaries. The initiative is concerned with the engagement of strategic design as the glue binding innovation together. BDI’s strategic designers are engaged by the world’s largest global brand owners to progress their product, service, digital and brand development strategies. BDI have helped us to engage with designers in challenges we've run including the Mobile Phone Security Challenge and as a media partner for the Redesigning Business Summit.
Other partners include the Design & Technology Association, D&AD, Creative & Cultural Skills, Design Wales, Designer Breakfasts, NI Design Alliance, South Coast Design Forum and South West Design Forum. We also work with other key design industry organisations including the Chartered Society of Designers.
The Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA) is our key partner in engaging with the European Commission, sharing knowledge with other European peer organisations and influencing evidence-based policy-making at EU level.
We have partnerships with many of the leading business organisations in the UK including the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Directors (IoD), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), The Work Foundation, Trade Association Forum (TAF). Commonly, they involve us providing content about design to the partners’ membership through web and print media articles, presentations and events. We add value to what our partners offer, and in return we are able to reach important audiences through a trusted channel.
The Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre has played a central role in both our healthcare projects, providing research and executing design briefs.
Our business support programme Designing Demand relies on delivery partners such as Business Link (Yorkshire).
The equivalent public sector programme, Public Services by Design, is funded by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), while Innovate for Universities, our programme to speed the commercialisation of emerging technology, is funded by BIS and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Other partners in this programme include PraxisUnico, which helps commercialise research.
Part of our work in sustainable water consumption is the Water Design Challenge for schools, which is being run in partnership with Creativity Culture & Education.