The Design Council has produced a new estimate of the contribution of design to the UK economy in its report, Design Economy: People, Places and Economic Value.
The study estimates that between 2010 and 2019 the design economy, which includes both the contribution of the design industries and design roles in other sectors, grew at twice the rate of the UK economy as a whole, delivering £97.4bn in Gross Value Addded (GVA) to the UK economy in 2019.
Calculated on this basis, the Design Economy accounted for over £70bn in exports in 2019, equalling one in every ten pounds from all UK exports and 18% of all UK service exports.
There were also an estimated 1.97m people employed in design-related roles in 2020. Digital design jobs have been at the forefront of employment growth, increasing by 138% in recent years, growing faster than both the design sector and the wide economy. The report also details that 77% of all designers work in non-design sectors such as finance, retail and construction.
Geographically, Scotland was named as the UK region with the faster rate of design economy growth, expanding by 33% between 2017 and 2019 – five times faster than the Scottish economy as a whole during the same period.
Minnie Moll,Chief Executive, the Design Council said: “We want as many people as possible, from the design community to design commissioners, the business sector to government, to really engage with the big messages from the research and recognise that design is a powerful tool to be used right now.”
Andy Haldane, Chief Executive RSA and Chair, Levelling-Up Commission, said: “Design should be at the heart of driving jobs, skills and regional prosperity across the UK. Designers bring immense value to the places they are a part of, be it in working with communities to shape our public spaces and services, creating affordable and good-quality homes, or in ensuring that our built environment and transport infrastructure are regenerative and benefit our planet. The RSA’s new mission – Design for Life – reflects the crucial contribution design makes in society, the economy and to the environment.
We can see from this landmark research with the Design Council the growth, value and importance of the design sector across the UK and we must continue to advocate for the conditions needed to help design continue to thrive across the country.”
As part of the report, the Design Council calls for curriculum reform and greater diversity in the design workforce.
Image source: Design Council report, 'Design Economy: People, Places and Economic Value'