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“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

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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

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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

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