We were set up in 1944 to promote the best use of design in British industry to get the UK back on its feet in a post war economy. The plan was to invest heavily in design to ensure the UK was making the best quality products that would allow the UK to win major industrial contracts in post- war Europe. In a current economic environment of widespread uncertainty design is as important and relevant now as it was then. 

Design is often thought of as a way to shape and style products, services and brands. But design can do far more. It can transform the way your business thinks and works.  It can help your business to diagnose problems, give you a deeper understanding of your customers needs, help to differentiate your offer, explore opportunities where design could make a difference and find creative solutions to fundamentally change how you develop and deliver your products and services.

Our business innovation work is underpinned by our Framework for Innovation to make cutting edge design approaches available to businesses of all sizes.

Over the years we have enabled thousands of UK businesses to develop and deliver tangible design projects to get products to market, achieve economic growth or to do more for less.  We have:

  • Supported over 5,000 SMEs across the UK to realise a £4 increase in net operating profit for every £1 invested in design

We work with academic institutions to help them commercialise their research and bring innovative products to market. We have helped: more than 30 major universities – including Oxford, Cambridge, Nottingham, Imperial College London and Bristol – to capitalise on their research base and take projects to market.

Improved innovation capability in supply chains to make them stronger and more resilient as individual businesses as well as contributors to a supply chain

White Logistics Rebrand helps win £500,000 of new business. Rebrand helps win £500,000 of new business.

Case study — 16/01/2014

What we deliver

We want to support new well-designed products to market and champion the best ideas from wherever they emerge.

We have developed a challenge led competition model that support early stage product ideas.  This model, known as Spark, has been running since 2014. During this time, it has helped more than 150 entrepreneurs and innovators to develop their product ideas.  Some 55 of these have been intensively supported with mentoring, funding and specialist input enabling them to progress their products to market.  Spark is a model that can be adapted to different challenges. To find out more please get in touch with the Spark Team. 

The call for applications to Design Council Spark 2019 –The Home Innovation Challenge has now closed. To register your interest for the next Spark programme please click on the register button.

We also offer a bespoke service for a range of clients (from start-ups and SMEs to multinational corporates and supply chains). Whether you’re looking to improve the quality and efficiency of your supply chain; need advice on the best way to bring a product to market or want to deliver new services or enhance an existing service.

Naylor Industries Design Council helps launch new product range, boosting sales and export to more than 60 countries. Design Council helps launch new product range, boosting sales and export to more than 60 countries.

Case study — 14/01/2014

Design Council Product Development

Between 2014 and 2019 Design Council ran Spark – a product innovation programme and fund. Over those five years, Spark helped some of the UK’s most promising entrepreneurs to fast-track their products to market.