Designers are being urged to take action to safeguard the future of British design by the Design Council, which has launched a campaign called 'Keep British Design Alive'. The campaign, which follows months of research by the organization into the state of professional design and education, is aimed at getting designers to debate the future needs and challenges facing the entire industry.

Challenges presented by the Design Council's report include the rise of cut-price design services from overseas competition, to schools and colleges producing design graduates who are seen as increasingly out-of-step with the creative industries. The report was made up of a panel from across the design industry, and it has warned that British design could struggle if issues such as its fragmented structure and lack of management skills and training opportunities aren't addressed.

"We've got a dynamic, hugely creative and successful design industry that's one of the best in the world," says panel chairman Paul Priestman of Priestman and Goode. "But, where will we be in 2020? The low-cost economies of India and the Far East are building design capabilities that will soon be capable of challenging our own. We have to be ready for that challenge.

"There are many, many issues to tackle," he adds, "from the way we run our business and present ourselves to clients to the way we teach design and nurture talent. Our ideas aim to build on the industry's many strengths, but we're hoping for more. We want as many people as possible across the industry to get involved with this consultation. After all, it's ultimately going to be up to everyone involved with design to make a difference."

Proposals in the report include a widely recognized accreditation scheme for designers and design businesses; improved links between design education and industry; a centralized store of creative information; a revised design curriculum for schools; and more involvement by professional designers in teaching.

You can enter the debate and voice your view at www.keepbritishdesignalive.com

A full interview with Paul Priestman will be featured in the next issue of Digit, along with an in-depth exploration of the issues raised by the report.