Tuesday, January 8

UK product design industry needs to change

by Emily Pacey

The UK’s product design industry is ‘over-confident, overpaid… and in danger of being left behind’, according to Pearson Matthews director Jim Dawton.

Writing in Design Week tomorrow, Dawton lists domestic and foreign threats to British product designers. Competition from China and the South Korean ‘design powerhouse’, the growth of in-house design departments and ‘global economic turmoil’ will all squeeze the UK market next year, he writes.

Dawton forecasts that in 2008, ‘design education is going to become increasingly irrelevant to the needs of the design business’ and that a ‘small number of good design graduates’ will send salaries spiralling unsustainably high.

Quoting Dott07 director John Thackara’s edict that ‘the age of the object is dead’, Dawton wonders if some product designers are experiencing an identity crisis.

‘For me, it isn’t whether or not we will continue to consume objects, but rather whether the UK product design industry will remain interested enough, or even competitive enough, to design them,’ he says.

Priestman Goode is singled out for praise for its design of the BT Home Hub, and Dawton also congratulates Seymour Powell on its purchase by Loewy last year. ‘We will all dream of similar deals,’ he says.

via Design Week

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