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Design Council champions the value of design. Interested in becoming a research partner?

The term ‘design economy’ identifies four categories of workers that together contribute to design’s impact: designers in design industries; other roles in design industries; designers in other sectors across the economy; and design skilled workers in design and non-design industries (those who are not professional designers, but use design skills as a significant aspect of their work.)

Design can be used to address some of society’s most pressing challenges, from the coronavirus pandemic through to the climate emergency. Every day the Design Council consults with government, industry and organisations to advise them on how design can improve the things that matter most.

The Design Council’s research is all about working collaboratively with people across the entire design economy to better understand the current state of design in the UK and its potential for the future.

Design Economy, with its ambition to explore the role that design can play to build back better and create a more just, healthy and regenerative world, provides the Design Council with a platform to do this. To consider the diversity of the design sector, its vital role in levelling up the UK’s regional economies, and the changes that must be made to ensure that design works for everyone.

Design Economy: People, Places and Economic Value (2022) maps the scale and geographical distribution of the design economy, including regional areas of design excellence. It shows the demographics of the workforce, and flags the challenges to be tackled for the gender ratio. Also considered are the future of the education pipeline and design exports.

Want to work on the future of Design EconomyThe Design Council wishes to invite proposals from a UK-based, academic or non-academic research partner to conduct research on the socio-cultural, democratic, environmental, and financial-economic value of design. The envisioned project runs  for one year (from 15 May 2023-13 May 2024) as part of the wider Design Economy research project. The full brief. Expressions of interest by 31 March 2023, with the final deadline for proposals 14 April 2023 (email: