Design and Culture

November 2020

Share Twitter / LinkedIn

As we move our work into the world after Covid change is the only certainty, our cities will have to adapt (see our Trust response to this here) and with them our buildings, public spaces and communities. Creativity will help us respond to these changes to our work effectively, we will need to develop new methods to engage with stakeholders and communities, find new strategies, materials and communication for brand and expression; digital interaction will impact, for better or worse, how we access, experience and interpret exhibitions 

As a ‘village industry’ with lots of independent practitioners and freelancers the sector has been hit hard in the UKMany studios, like us, use freelance designers and these are often the first to be cut as work dries up. Many of these designers are set up as limited companies, often on the advice of their accountants, and have no back up or support from government schemes. However, we designers are a resourceful bunch and it’s exciting to see so many using their creative skills to make a splash and build their profile online—whether through design classes, sharing artwork, making PPE or developing initiatives.

The impact of creativity on our society is fundamental to a positive recovery—it is imagination, dedication and the willingness to embrace different ways of thinking that will lead us to a new and better normal. However, inspiring and harnessing this creativity will become increasingly difficult. The impact of Covid-19 across the creative sector has been catastrophic; museums and art galleries have shut, theatres and cinemas have closed, our universities are in crisis and their future is uncertain. Protecting and supporting the arts is essential, not just because of the UK’s Arts and culture industry’s enormous contribution to the economy—an estimated contribution to the exchequer in 2016 stood at over £2.8bn (Guardian)—but because culture is what makes us human. Sharing ideas, creating art, learning through doing, singing, dancing and so much more make up our lives and when our day-to-day life is so constricted culture and creativity can deliver us a positive experience. The influence of creativity in our society is essential to drive constructive solutions—when faced with unprecedented challenges it is imagination, dedication and the willingness to embrace different ways of thinking that will help us build a better future.  

Our design sector is vital for recovery, employing around 1.69m highly productive people and bringing in the equivalent of 7% UK GVA (Design Council) we can be part of a positive future. We are creative, pragmatic, expressive communicators and with our combined skills we can help show the way.