New report highlights the £71.7bn contribution of design to the UK economy

The Design Economy 2015 research explores the value contributed by designers working in both design-specific and non-design industries. This definition more accurately represents the benefits and contribution design makes – which Design Council has called the ‘design economy’.

The government-endorsed report shows that, in 2013, the design economy generated £71.7bn in gross value added (GVA), equivalent to 7.2 per cent of total GVA. In the period between 2009-2013, the design economy GVA increased by 27.9 per cent, compared to 18.1 per cent across the UK economy as a whole.

Manufacturing sectors tend to employ between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the workforce in design roles – with a small number employing up to 15 per cent. This reflects the key role of designers in the design and specification of products and processes across the manufacturing sector, and the emerging role of designers in influencing service provision, alongside the pivotal role that designers already play in some service sectors.

John Mathers, Design Council Chief Executive, explained: “Design Council has long recognised design’s contribution to economic growth, and this new report provides evidence of how investment in design is helping to raise productivity, stimulate growth and make Britain more prosperous.”

Approximately 580,000 people are directly employed in the UK’s design industries, while a further one million designers work across the economy in non-design industries. This makes the design economy equivalent to the ninth biggest employer in the UK.

Mathers continued: “The figures in our latest report speak for themselves. The design economy is creating thousands of jobs, exponentially improving British export markets and contributing billions to our economy. It is vital that it is recognised and supported in order for this growth to continue. That’s why Design Council’s role is more relevant than ever. We will continue to support organisations to use design, driving up productivity across areas of the country and in sectors where its full potential is yet to be fulfilled.”

Access to the Executive summary, methodology, technical appendix and to order a copy of the report via the Design Council.