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The Design Economy 2015 report

The Design Economy 2015 report

20 October 2015

The Design Economy is the the Design Council's 2015 report on the value of design to the UK economy.

It expands on our previous research by looking beyond the traditional definition of the design sector. In doing so, it provides the most thorough and accurate view of design's contribution to the UK economy ever produced.

This research measures the value of design using gross value added (GVA), and statistics relating to productivity, turnover, employment and exports of goods and services. The report includes a summary of how design contributes to the financial performance of businesses, the UK regions and areas where design makes a substantial contribution to local economies, as well as design workforce demographics.

The report includes findings such as:

  • The design economy generated £71.7bn in gross value added (GVA), equivalent to 7.2% of total GVA.
  • Between 2009 -2013 the design economy GVA grew at a faster rate than the UK average.
  • Workers with a design element to their work were 41% more productive than the average. Each delivers £47,400 in output (GVA per worker) compared with £33,600 across the rest of the economy.
  • The design economy is concentrated in London and, to a lesser extent, the South East of England. More than one in five design workers, and one in four design intensive firms (where 30% or more of the workforce were employed in design occupations), are found in London.
  • In 2013, the total value of exports where design had made a key contribution was £34bn. This constituted 7.3% of total UK exports in 2013. The UK ranks fifth behind Hong Kong, Switzerland, Italy and Germany in total value of design exports.
  • The design economy is mostly male – 78% of the designers are male (compared to 53% of the wider UK workforce).
  • The design economy compares more favourably to the wider UK workforce in terms of designers from ethnic minority backgrounds (11.2%) and those who have a disability or work-limiting illness (11.7%).
  • Purchase the full report for our full analysis of these and other findings.

The Design Economy shows the breadth and depth of design’s contribution to the UK. Design Council is committed to championing the role and importance of design, as we believe it can deliver growth, efficiencies, quality, sustainability, better quality of life and stronger communities.

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