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The DCH is looking for more agencies to take part in portfolio reviews and to host events to help the next generation of designers.

We have a stellar line up of events already planned for next year, including ones from Heatherwick Studio and Superunion, but we need more from every size and type of design agency.

If you want to get involved or talk about any ideas you have, please head over to the DCH website to get in contact with the Project Director Emily Foulkes.

Keep an eye out for more exciting news from the DCH coming soon.

Image credit: 

Design Community Hub

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>

Main Content

Making connections

If you continued to put yourself out there this year, marketing your business, making connections, starting conversations, and broadening your network – please celebrate this. These new connections may not equate to bottom line revenue yet, but in that community are your future clients.

Lucy Mann, Director, Gunpowder Consulting 

Remember all you’ve achieved

As a passionate and curious observer of life, behaviour and truth, look back at all you’ve learned about your clients, colleagues and consumers. How can you connect the dots to create new inspiration and new revenue from everything you ALREADY know?

John Gleason, Founder & President, A Better View 

Raising the bar

After another tough year it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate even the smallest of successes. Build on this throughout 2022 by making sure you “celebrate what you’ve accomplished but raise the bar a little each time you succeed.” (Mia Hamm, American soccer player)

Catherine Allison, Director, Master the Art

Back to the future

Have a think about three pandemic-related things which have improved your business. Perhaps it’s the ability to work remotely, time to reflect and reset, or better use of technology? You’ve come far; now how will you build on these in the future?

Adrian Day, Managing Consultant, Adrian Day Advisers Ltd

Not forgetting…

Congratulations on winning new business. But remember that retaining and developing clients is equally worthy of celebration, because it can actually be a more potent driver of agency growth. In 2022, cherish and nurture your clients as never before.

Jonathan Kirk, Director, Up to the Light

The fundamentals

What do you know now about your business that you didn’t know two years ago? The last few years have been about fundamentals; cash, costs, revenue. Look back on the challenges you’ve faced and use the lessons learnt to move forward.

Chris Lang, Founding Partner, Flash Partners

Growing gravitas

You’ve aced remote presenting on several platforms. You’ve improved your onscreen presence while still saying ‘hi’ to various kids, cats, dogs and hamsters. Now why not lose those ‘um’s and ‘er’s? They’ll seriously undermine your authority. Then increase your fees.

Shan Preddy, Partner, PREDDY&CO

On the right path

In 2021, strides have been taken on racial and gender equity, LGBTQ+ education, and recognising the absence of people with disabilities. You’re keeping step if you’ve realised inclusivity is a skill, which your agency needs to onboard. How will you march ahead in 2022?

Guy Duncan, Founding Director, Brand Equality

Celebrate where you are

As you reflect on this year, make sure you’re looking at what matters. What gets measured, gets done, but don’t weigh yourself down. Measure the numbers that matter and celebrate where you are, before you make your next move.

Jonathan Gaunt, Managing Director, FD Works

The gift of presence

Reflect on and celebrate all the moments of genuine, curious, brilliant listening. Consciously bring more of this trust building connection into your New Year, knowing that your centred presence can magically contribute to the growth of your team and business. 

Emma Collins, Executive Leadership & Team Coach, Collins&Co

Good to talk

Zoom and email fatigue is real and in this ‘people buying people’ world, remember your phone calls to prospects can be a welcome relief. Keep picking up the phone, using the opportunity to unearth client challenges and to discuss how you can help solve them.

Andre Yong, Managing Director, Angsana 

Celebrate all you have learnt from feedback

Embracing constructive input and spending time engaging with your clients and asking them what they think about your service offering and positioning, will help you evolve your messaging to new prospective clients. Learn from feedback, don’t shy away from it.

Natasha Ellard-Shoefield, Managing Director, The Hand Consulting 

Enhancing your approach

PR and digital marketing have changed at pace in recent years. How has this enhanced your approach? Pause and reflect on the ways you’ve consolidated learnings, case studies and service offerings to allow more agility. How will you take that forward?

Katherine Sandford-Anderson, Founder & Creative Director, Sandford PR | Sandford Digital 

Changing perspectives

Recent times have shown us that (almost) anything is possible despite perceived limitations. You are still here, but maybe your perspective/priority has changed. What did you learn that you are yet to put into place? Make a start on that.

Jack O’Hern, Director, Wright Vigar

Better ways of working

The past two years have compelled reflection on business strategy, structure and how we work together. Evolve the positive changes that you have made. Ethical standards lead to better outcomes, and these lead to greater opportunities. Embrace the zeitgeist!

Martin Varley, Partner, Humphries Kirk LLP

Taking control

2021 was another year where factors outside of our control had a huge impact on our lives. Celebrate how you navigated the challenges and look for areas you CAN take control of and action in 2022; Financial Planning being a great starting point.

Gary Morris, Principal, Morris Powell

Happy people

Get your team to submit their 2021 work highlights and host an end of year online wrap up celebration. It can be a fun way to reflect and recognise the work you’ve done, boosting everyone’s confidence for 2022.  

Aliya Vigor-Robertson, Founding Partner, JourneyHR

Time well spent – a lesson learned for better leadership

The pandemic has created problems, but it’s also created space and time. If you’ve found a better balance with a life not totally dictated by work, you are likely now more efficient, productive and interestingly, probably a better person to be inspired by.

Jeremy Paterson, Managing Director, IF Media Consultancy 

A final thought

Time is a gift, and if your past eighteen months have looked even remotely like mine, remember to be thankful. Never before – and hopefully ever again – will we to the same extent, be gifted.

Steinar Valade-Amland, Three Point Zero

About the DBA Experts

 

DBA Experts are here to help you navigate the challenges and decisions you face as you grow your business. Our register of accredited expert consultants have sustained and relevant experience in supporting the design industry, so you can rest assured that you will be getting sound, high-level support.

 

Find out more and explore the DBA Experts Register >

Image credits: 

Diego PH | Unsplash

Fabio Bracht| Unsplash

Mahdis Mousavi | Unsplash

Efe Kurnaz | Unsplash

Jason Dent | Unsplash

Visual Stories Michelle | Unsplash

David Gavi | Unsplash

Nick Fewings | Unsplash

Hannah Wei | Unsplash

Mark Kajnig | Unsplash

Marvin Meyer | Unsplash

Tim Mossholder | Unsplash

Aziz Acharki | Unsplash

Joanna Kosinska | Unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>

Main Content

It’s not all rosy

The average “confidence score” in the 2021 DBA Annual Survey Report was 69 on a scale of 0-100 (with 76% of agencies giving a positive rating of over 50 – compared to only 36% the year before). But not everyone is feeling the upswing – the situation isn’t rosy for everyone.

Not all businesses have recovered from the pandemic. Sectors like travel and retail are still struggling and on the creative side, micro-agencies especially seem to be the last to be recovering. Businesses with a strong digital aspect and those in FMCG continue to perform well. These are the businesses which got through the pandemic relatively unscathed. The biggest issue they face is the recruitment of talent to keep up with demand.

Recruitment

Recruitment is an issue affecting a lot of industries at the moment as we deal with the ‘Great Resignation’, but it is exacerbated in design by the growing trend of in-housing, as businesses who have woken up to the commercial potential of effective design are building their own in-house design teams.

Talking to heads of design at large businesses, they too are struggling to fill vacancies despite generally being able to offer higher salaries than agencies. It seems the allure of agency culture and a wider variety of work is still a bigger draw than a bigger pay packet for many – although some in-house teams are bucking the trend here.

In a recent article on inflationary pressures, one of the DBA Expert’s highlighted how replacing members of staff generally costs a business 20% more than retaining staff. Understanding the motivators of your team and prospective candidates above and beyond salary, will be vital for recruitment and retention next year. Prioritising professional development for instance, is being seen as increasingly important in demonstrating how invested a business is in both the team’s and its own growth.

Growing back better

A trend that started before the pandemic that has been escalated during the recovery and shows no signs of slowing down is the move towards becoming better, more sustainable businesses. The B-Corp movement has fired the imagination of many in the membership. Agencies like LEAP in Cornwall have led the way and many DBA members are following. In the last week alone B Corp status has been confirmed for Mytton Williams, Sail Creative, and 400 Communications adding to the many that have already achieved the hard-won status.

Differentiation

And finally, less a trend – more a hopeful wish, as the sector spawns a multitude of start-ups meaning there are now approximately 20,000 design agencies in the UK. That wish is for those agencies to look within themselves and truly identify what makes them different from the other 20,000 businesses. Because if you cannot do that, then you will be seen by clients as interchangeable with any other agency who doesn’t articulate their point of difference. So the cheapest option will always be chosen.

If positioning your business for growth is an area you know your business needs to work on in 2022, here are three steps you could take now to get started: 

– Block out time in your calendar next year and set aside budget to focus on this – if you don’t other priorities will always take precedence. DBA Expert Ralph Ardill sets it out well in his call for businesses to set up a ‘Project You’.

– Consider whether you could benefit from the expertise of an external consultant or the sounding-board of experience of a mentor to achieve your aims. 

Sign up today to be first to hear news of our 2022 online learning course dates – in Spring we’ll be running our popular workshop on how to define the most credible and valuable positioning for your business.

Agencies who nail their positioning do very well. These businesses say ‘no’ to work just as often as they say ‘yes’ – and they can charge a premium because they are the experts in what they do and can illustrate how they are different from the 20,000. It’s also how they attract talent too. 

So well done for making it to the end of 2021. Take a well-deserved rest. Recharge those batteries and start 2022 in the knowledge that you and your business can use design to maximise the experiences of your clients and customers, to make them look twice, to think deeper and engage more.

About: Adam Fennelow

Adam is the DBA’s Head of Services and talks to design businesses like yours every day. You can get in touch with Adam at adam@dba.org.uk  to set up a call to talk through your challenges; many members find this invaluable.

Image credits: 

Clay Banks | Unsplash

Lea L | Unsplash

Kelly Sikkema | Unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>

Main Content

“We are looking for a diverse group of council members who can bring both passion and expertise,” says Diageo’s Global Design Director and DBA Chair, Jeremy Lindley.

The D&I Council is one of several new councils and initiatives the DBA is launching in 2022. The Council’s purpose is to share best practice, identify what we can do together to help the design sector be more inclusive, and inspire the industry to change.

The role of the council member

The DBA is seeking volunteers from across all areas of our member community. We will be bringing volunteers from both our agency and corporate members together to sit on the D&I Council to facilitate conversation, increase awareness and drive change.

As a council member you will play a vital role in helping the design industry foster an open sector, rich in diversity and representative of society. “Design by its nature is built on empathy,” says Lindley, “creating an inclusive and diverse industry is critical if we are to continue to lead.”

Lindley will chair the Council: “I expect us to learn from each other,” he says, “taking best practice back to our organisations. But most importantly, the D&I Council will make recommendations to the DBA Board; participants will be initiating change across the whole design industry.” 

Time to pull our collective socks up

DBA Annual Survey Report 2021: Gender split in creative roles within DBA member agencies

The male-female gulf at Creative Director level, although gradually closing, has been consistently revealed each year by the DBA Annual Survey Report (the survey has been tracking the gender split in creative roles since 2018). The 2021 DBA Report also highlights improvements which could be made in ethnic diversity, with only 8.6% of member agency staff being non-white compared to 13% of the UK population (with the latter figure much higher in urban areas where many agencies are located).

More widely, Creative Equals has also found that only 1-2% of staff are disabled (vs 22% of the UK population), only 3% of CEOs are Black, Asian, Multi-Ethnic, and only 6% of creatives are over 50. Addressing socio-economic factors, as well as LGBTQ+ inclusivity, are also fundamental to a diverse design sector. There is much work to be done to understand the barriers and to proactively drive positive change. “We will achieve more together than acting alone,” reflects Lindley.

Getting involved

The D&I Council is a pilot council and part of the DBA’s wider strategy to connect and support our vibrant design community. “Our vision for this council is to open the aperture, to include those who may have been inadvertently excluded from our industry, and to ensure that subconscious bias does not reduce the effectiveness of our design output,” says Lindley. With more councils in the pipeline, getting involved now with the pilot will help shape those that follow. “The councils will engage the DBA membership deeper and allow for the genius that exists across member companies to come together and make an impact,” Lindley observes.

DBA councils are about more than simply talking, with each council member needing to be willing to work on ideas in-between meetings. “We will meet online, initially for two hours, once a month,” says Lindley, “with a likely additional two hours of development work outside of meetings.”

The number of volunteers invited to join the D&I Council will be limited to a maximum of 20. “Our aim is to ensure a broad and diverse representation,” says Lindley, “if you can commit at least four hours a month to make our industry more inclusive, then we need you!”

If you are interested in joining the DBA Diversity & Inclusion Council to help drive awareness and change, email DBA CEO Deborah Dawton on deborah.dawton@dba.org.uk to register your interest and for more details on how to apply.   

Read more about the assembly of the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council in this Design Week article

Image credits: 

Agence Olloweb | Unsplash

Jeremy Lindley | Diageo

DBA Annual Survey Report 2021

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>

Main Content

On becoming a mentee

Warren Hutchinson, Founder, ELSE

“My first exposure to the Twenty/Twenty programme was as a mentee. I think ELSE was about five or six years old at the time, and I felt I could do with some external advice and input to help us gear up for our next phase. 

The opportunity to learn from someone vastly more experienced at running a design business was too good to pass up, and our conversations gave me both practical advice and reassurance that was invaluable in the coming years.” 

The experience

“I’d say Twenty/Twenty is unquestionably valuable and eye-opening. Speaking to someone with deep expertise and experience, who has been through it all, provides incredible context. The impartial, non-judgemental optics of the mentor/mentee relationship offers a unique lens on thoughts, ideas and challenges. You simply can’t have these conversations with colleagues.” 

The impact

“The training you receive both as a mentee and mentor is invaluable. You will carry that coaching, better-listening mindset into all your future work. Mentoring helped me navigate some particular business challenges at a time when I didn’t have many answers to them. It helped me dispel imposter syndrome somewhat and gave me practical advice on running a business. Personally, I got so much out of it that many others from ELSE have since benefited from mentoring, and a couple of us have also become mentors.” 

On becoming a mentor

“The experience was formative and I realised, that I too, had experience worth sharing. Which I presume is a typical story of giving something back. 

It’s been fascinating to see how two people with the appropriate intent and platform for discussion can move things in a positive direction. I’ve also learned that all I can bring is my experience and an ear. As a mentor, I’m not under pressure for answers; I’m here to listen, help probe and reframe questions. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and, as such, will continue to remain involved.”

DBA Twenty/Twenty pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship. Why not think about what development you need right now, or what insight you can give back to the design industry.

 

The deadline for applications for the 2022 programme is Friday 3 December. Find out more and sign up today >

Image credits: 

Vince Fleming | Unsplash

Warren Hutchinson, ELSE

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>

Main Content

The story so far

The DCH was conceived out of the immediate impact and threat of the pandemic on design talent. Whilst this was the motivation for the hub – the idea has grown into an inclusive and exciting design community to bridge the gap between design education and the design industry to support the creatives of tomorrow.

Making an impact

Launching live onto the Guild platform at the end of September has enabled the DCH to reach the designers we first set out to help – making an impact on the lives of struggling creatives.

Emily Foulkes, Project Director, Design Community Hub

The founders, including Callum Lumsden of Lumsden Design, Design Business Association Chief Executive Deborah Dawton,  Landor & Fitch Chief Creative Officer Tim Greenhalgh, Born Ugly Chairman Jonathan Sands, Red Setter MD Claire Blyth and Phil and Clare Jones from Podge Events, have all done a huge job of raising awareness of the DCH and getting the first wave of agencies on board to support our cause.

In August, I was brought on as Project Director to take that passion and bring the idea to life. Day to day we can already see the difference we are making. The enthusiasm of those involved is palpable, both student and graduate side, but also from the agencies who have taken the DCH baton and started to create events, experiences and internships to feed into this community. But this is just the beginning.

All welcome

Our goal is for all design agencies to be part of the DCH. To date we have over 180 agencies and designers involved (and counting). Some have supported purely via fundraising (thank you), but others are adding to that and stepping in with the creation of events, workshops, internships, portfolio reviews and more. Both are hugely powerful contributions and are already having a tangible impact on the next generation of designers. But the more people get involved in our mission, the more people we can reach.

One issue we hear about constantly from the design industry is how to tackle recruitment and diversity and inclusion. We don’t have the full answer, but at the DCH we’re actively working to create a level playing field for young designers, giving them an equal platform from which to launch or grow their careers.   

Any design student from anywhere can join the DCH. It’s not London centric, it’s not based on who you know. Agencies can discover talent of various backgrounds and influences from anywhere in the UK. There’s a clear benefit. A varied design workforce equals better and more exciting design ideas and creative output. Who can say no that?

Starting out is scary

We know from talking to the students and young designers on the Guild hub that entering the design industry is often incredibly daunting. The DCH is going a long way to making it less exclusive and a far more inclusive experience.

Recent design graduate Marina Cocchiara told us that she saw the hub “as a great opportunity for support in the industry, knowing you are not alone with the struggles you are facing in the beginning”. “It is useful for development as an individual creative,” she added. “By having options to take part in online talks, advice, reviews or for seeing work opportunities.” 

We are getting messages like this constantly, so we understand the value we’re delivering. Seeing young designers ask questions on Guild and experienced designers – often agency owners and creative directors – happily putting their time into sharing their real-life experiences is what the DCH is living for.

What’s next?

In one month since going live, we’ve already announced nine internship opportunities, posted 13 jobs, shared seven agency-created and hosted events, and have eight portfolio slots in progress.

New initiatives are in the works, including the launch of our podcast series, ‘How I started in design’, which will speak to some of the most inspirational people in the industry about the beginnings of their careers. We are also hoping to announce the creation of the world’s best internship in coming months which will enable one student the opportunity to work across multiple leading design agencies in different roles.

To help us continue this great work, we really do need funds. If you care about the future of design, click here to donate and click here to join the DCH on Guild. The future of the design industry will thank you for it.

The Design Community Hub is a cross-industry initiative, created to support talent across the design world. Find out more here. 

Image credits: 

Mathew Schwartz | Unsplash

Nong Vang | Unsplash

The Design Community Hub

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Main Content

“We are really excited to announce that the DCH is now live on Guild,” says Claire Blyth, DCH co-founder and Managing Director of Red Setter. “It’s a really easy messaging platform to use; it’s free and most importantly it provides a direct way for young designers to connect and benefit from the expertise of industry leaders who have been kind enough to put their support behind the DCH and its goals of connecting the industry and keeping it alive.”

Deborah Dawton, Chief Executive, Design Business Association and DCH co-founder, adds, “Right now it’s never been more important for the design industry to come together. For agency leaders, the DCH is a great way of giving back via mentoring, portfolio reviews, skills sharing and internships.

“For young designers having access to some of the industry’s leading founders and creatives who are willing to share their time is huge, never seen before on this scale and commitment. The support we continue to receive to grow the DCH and what it can offer is hugely inspiring for all of us involved.”

The DCH founders would like to thank all the agencies it has worked with already. The hub is still welcoming more support, either through time or financial contributions.

More information is on the DCH hub here and through the Guild mobile app’s groups section.

Image credits

Design Community Hub

Morvanic Lee | Unsplash

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Read more >>

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The YDW Team

With the pandemic affecting the events sector in 2020, this year’s festival marks a welcome return to form with a host of live events across the city. 

The week-long programme features an exciting mix of exhibitions, workshops, installations, creative careers advice, presentations, and live music, open to everyone, entirely for free. 

This year’s theme, What a Pickle!, is a light-hearted exclamation about the multiple and complex crises we face as a society today. 

“We’re living in challenging times. Multiple and complex issues around mental health and wellbeing, the housing system, the biodiversity and climate crises, poverty, inequality, racism, and increasing uncertainty about the future can often leave us feeling powerless and fearful. York Design Week 2021 sets out to ask: What if we weren’t in such a pickle? What would that look, feel and be like? How could we design a way there? And how can we work together to do this?” explained YDW Co-Founder Rebecca Carr.

An invitation to come together and explore possible solutions openly and collaboratively, YDW’s weeklong events will celebrate creativity and problem solving through play, conversation, collaboration, and by taking a tumble into the unknown. 

Download the full programme here.

For more information and to book events head to yorkdesignweek.com

York Design Week is supported using public funding by Arts Council UK.

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

26/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Don’t miss the chance to have your say on how your designs are protected


The UK government is conducting a review of the IP framework for designs. You can share your views by completing a short survey or by participating in a more detailed call for views.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Five easy ways to get involved with the Design Community Hub


Here's how you can use your expertise and experience to empower a new generation of designers.

25/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Waves on the ocean: What lies beneath your performance data?


When it comes to running an agency there’s a multitude of data to stay-on top of, from cash flow to profitability, client debtor days to utilisation rates.

10/01/2022


News


Read more >>
shortlist

DBA vacancies


Work in an exciting and dynamic industry, with inspiring and market-leading design professionals, and help champion the transformative power of design.

06/01/2022


News


Read more >>

Can you get involved with the Design Community Hub in 2022?


Can you get involved and help the Design Community Hub in 2022? 

15/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Moving on up: shining a light on your successes


Reflect on your progress and build on your achievements into 2022 with these great snippets of advice from DBA Experts. 

14/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Key trends in my conversations with design leaders as we look to 2022


How's 2022 shaping up for you? Here's a snapshot of themes emerging from conversations our Head of Services Adam Fennelow's been having with design leaders, along with a wish for the year ahead.

01/12/2021


News


Read more >>

Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape


The DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you? Find out more and apply.

17/11/2021


News


Read more >>

An eye-opening experience: Twenty/Twenty mentoring


Chief Experience Officer & Founder of ELSE, Warren Hutchinson, discusses the value of being both a mentee and mentor on the DBA's flagship mentoring programme, Twenty/Twenty. 

16/11/2021


News


Read more >>
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