British Design Talent Pool
British design has a strong reputation and rightly so, many of the world’s top designers either came from the UK or studied their craft here. Many of the world’s leading design brands are either British or based in Britain because of the wealth of design talent we have on these shores. In 2016 it is easier than ever to be a British designer or design agency and work for international clients.
The Changing Face of International Business
There will always be a place for the face to face meeting or presentation, but the majority of the regular progress meetings needed in a design project can be conducted through Facetime or Skype. Long flights with rolls of drawings under your arm are a thing on the past. At the moment we work for a number of international clients managing large complex multi-product projects with clients based in Europe and manufacturing partners based in the Far East. Technology such as Skype has changed the way international design business is conducted, and the most remarkable thing about it is that they give it away for free. What other example of a business tool can you think of that opens up your market to an indefinite customer base yet costs you nothing? The world has an appetite to buy British design so the British design industry should take advantage of this fact and enjoy the benefits of its hard earned reputation.
The Case for UK Manufacturing
Now I disagree with about 99% of what Donald Trump says, but I think there is one subject where he has a point. Why can’t we start manufacturing our own products again rather than importing them from the other side of the world? This principle reduces the environmental footprint of a product, creates jobs, boosts the economy and yes we have the issues of increased labour costs and people having higher aspirations than working in manufacturing, but a good modern UK manufacturing plant does not look like the stereotypical British factory of old. I visit quite a few manufacturing companies with my job and yes there are still some old school facilities that have survived, but there are also some great examples of modern facilities with latest cutting edge manufacturing equipment that are keeping cost down and productivity up. A number of clients we have worked for over the last few years have insisted their products be manufactured in the UK, there would appear to be a trend that it’s desirable to the consumer to have their products built in the UK, so long as they cost the same and offer as much as the overseas alternative. That is starting to become possible again.
Britain has among the best technology companies in the world, just look at all the tech businesses being bought up for millions of pounds by the US giants. We have world class design and the ability, skills and potential to be a world leader in manufacturing again. Wouldn’t it be great if next Christmas when you opened up your new smartphone from under the tree it proudly claimed designed in Britain, made in Britain instead of the Designed in California, assembled in China. Oh and by the way the guy who designed it in California…. He was British.