One event at this year's London Design Festival is focus on “catastrophic shortcomings” in the design industry -- and how creatives can avoid being part of this problem.

The event is called How Design Stopped Being Special is fronted by design writer, business consultant and Digital Arts contributor, Sean Ashcroft.

“Designers are hopeless at marketing themselves,” says Ashcroft. MD of marketing-for-designers consultancy, Zyzzyva. “They only play at it, because they’d rather be off creating, even if this is for free, which it frequently is.”

Ashcroft adds: “Ineffectual marketing has resulted in a bewildering lack of differentiation in communication design, and it is this that is driving spec creative and free design pitching.

“After all, If everything’s vanilla, of course client prospects will be compelled to taste before buying, which is exactly why every business sector bar design lives by the diktat, ‘Differentiate or die’.”

Ashcroft says the design profession worldwide must wake up to the critical importance of differentiating, “designer by designer and agency by agency”.

He concludes: “What I’ll be doing at the London Design Festival is urging design practitioners to do for themselves what they often do so brilliantly for clients.

“We’ll be looking at the importance of communicating expertise to narrow markets, and relatively simple and inexpensive ways to achieve this, both online and offline.”

How Design Stopped Being Special takes place on Friday, September 23rd at the V&A. Tickets are £12, with £5 concessions for students.