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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

To be inclusive, design has to reflect the rich make-up of society and enable people from different backgrounds and worldviews to thrive including people of different ages, genders, social, ethnic or cultural backgrounds, disabilities, sexual orientations, faith or life experiences.

At the moment, as our Design Economy research shows that design is often failing to do this.

Promoting equality and diversity is core to our purpose to make life better by design. We start with ourselves and our Design Council community, using our platform to encourage the wider design profession to follow suit. 

Our values and behaviours 

  • Powerful Together is one of our values and inclusion is central to our work at the Design Council. It is embedded into our culture, and we allow time to diversify our networks and build trusted relationships with people with different perspectives. We have equality, diversity and inclusion on the agenda at all partnership mobilisation meetings, which includes space for us to reflect on our own advantages and unconscious bias. 
  • We have an open, transparent and actively welcoming recruitment process. All employment opportunities, including those for trustees, colleagues, and the Design Council Experts, are advertised in an open recruitment process and we promote flexible working arrangements to encourage further diversity. We carry out equal opportunities monitoring in all processes and work hard to ensure our inclusive approach encourages all sections of society to apply to work with us. 
  • We are an equal opportunity employer committed to a policy of treating all our team members and job applicants equally. We take all reasonable steps to employ and promote team members on the basis of their abilities and qualifications irrespective of their age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation (protected characteristics). We appoint, train, develop and promote on the basis of merit and ability to carry out the requirements of the job. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of any of the above protected characteristics. Such behaviour may be considered as gross misconduct and may result in summary dismissal. 
  • We have an aspiration for our core team to reflect the national census figures on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and social class. 
  • We have recently refreshed our the Design Council Expert network with increased representation across geographies, ethnicity, gender and disability.  

Our work 

  • Inclusive design is a core practice and principle that runs through our programmes. We understand this as products, services and places being accessible and welcoming to all, and designed to improve equity more broadly. 
  • The design frameworks and principles we use to guide our work (eg framework for innovation, systemic design framework, inclusive environment principles) all have inclusive design methods and tools.
  • We commit to ensuring representation on all our panels and programmes. 
  • We always speak out if asked to participate on panels lacking diversity and actively support organisers to identify different perspectives. 
  • We ensure that we understand the experiences of different groups, identify assumptions and biases through our work, and bring in different perspectives so that we are designing inclusively. 
  • We forge relationships with organisations that represent under-represented groups, seeking to understand their experiences and what design can do to tackle systemic inequalities.

Useful resources and organisations promoting equality and justice in design

Related links:

Black Creatives

Our statement on Black Lives Matter

Design Economy data

Update on our activities since 2020