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What’s next for the Design Community Hub? And why we still need you!

Conceived a year ago, announced to the world six months ago and officially launched a month ago. The Design Community Hub (DCH), a resource for design graduates and young designers to get into the design industry, has had a brilliant start.

To get an initiative like the DCH up and running – and gaining momentum – is a great success, but this is only stage one. We’re ambitious. We have a long way to go, and we still need you! 

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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