Design Council

Charity Commission for England and Wales Architects' Journal ISBN (identifier)
Design Council
Founded19 December 1944 (1944-12-19)
FounderHugh Dalton
Registration no.272099
Area served
United Kingdom
Methodharness design to drive business growth and improve service efficiency; design practical solutions to complex problems; create better, more sustainable places; lead and share the latest thinking on design[3]:3–4
Key people
CEO Sarah Weir (OBE)
SubsidiariesCommission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Design Council Enterprises Limited[1]
Formerly called
Council of Industrial Design

The Design Council, formerly the Council of Industrial Design, is a United Kingdom charity incorporated by Royal Charter.[5][6] Its stated mission is "to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better".[7] It was instrumental in the promoting of the concept of inclusive design.[8]

The Design Council's archive is located at the University of Brighton Design Archives.[9]

The Design Council operates two subsidiaries, the Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Design Council CABE) and Design Council Enterprises Limited.[1]

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

The Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (DC CABE,[10] alternatively Design Council CABE,[11] CABE at the Design Council,[12] or simply CABE[13][14]), is one of Design Council’s two subsidiaries. It supports communities, local authorities and developers involved in built environment projects[15] by providing services in three areas: design review, customised expert support, and training and continued professional development (CPD).[16] These services are supported by a network of Built Environment Experts (BEEs),[14] a multidisciplinary team of 250 experts from “architecture, planning and infrastructure backgrounds, as well as academics, health specialists, and community engagement workers”.[15]

Design Council CABE, which is intended to operate as a self-sustaining business,[17] was formed on 1 April 2011 with about 20 staff from the original CABE after it was merged with the Design Council.[18] The BEE network was formed in 2012.[11][15]


The Design Council began on 19 December 1944 as the Council of Industrial Design (COID), founded by Hugh Dalton, President of the Board of Trade in the wartime Government.[19] Its objective was 'to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry'.

S. C. Leslie, the Council's first director, played an important part in the Britain Can Make It exhibition of 1946. His 1947 successor Sir Gordon Russell established the organisational model for the next 40 years. Under Sir Paul Reilly the organisation changed its name to the Design Council in 1972.[20][21][22][23]

The Design Council was incorporated as a registered charity by Royal Charter in 1976,[5][24]:12 although it continued to operate as a non-departmental public body.[24]:50

In December 1994 it was restructured,[23] resulting in a functional change from being both an advisory body and a provider of goods and services to a primarily strategic mission “to inspire the best use of design by the United Kingdom in the world context, in order to improve prosperity and wellbeing”.[20][25]

On 1 April 2010 it incorporated a subsidiary trading company called Design Council Enterprises Limited[26] to transact “fundraising activities that are not primary-purpose charitable activity.”[27]

On 1 April 2011, it ceased to be a non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and became an independent registered charity, although it continued to receive grants from the Department.[3]:5[24][28] It also officially merged with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) on the same day[29] although Design Council CABE was incorporated four days earlier.[30]

In 2017, Design Council appointed Sarah Weir (OBE) as their CEO.[31]

The Design Centre

Sir Gordon Russell, who was heavily involved in the 1951 Festival of Britain, examined ways to reform the education and training of new industrial designers. The Design Centre, in London's Haymarket, was officially opened on 26 April 1956.[32]

The Council under Russell combined exhibitions with product endorsements, direct services to industry, commercial publishing and retail.[20]

After the Design Council’s restructuring in 1994, the Design Centre was closed to the public. The Design Council continued to operate from the Design Centre until 1998.[32]

The Design journal

Between 1949 and 1999, the Design Council published Design (ISSN 0011-9245), a “well-regarded magazine of its own”[33][34] The journal ceased publication after the summer issue of 1999.[35]

Awards given

British Design Awards logo

The Council has hosted the British Design Awards, with the 1987 logo rights co-owned with Manchester Metropolitan University.[36] It was suggested in 1995 in Business Strategy Review magazine that the awards made suitable benchmarks, contributing to industrial competitiveness.[37]

See also


  1. ^ See EC1V under EC postcode area


  1. ^ a b c "Design Council Annual Report and Accounts For the year ended 31 March 2013" (PDF). Design Council. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  2. ^ "272099 – Design Council: Contact & Trustees". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Davids, Kim (January 31, 2014). "Summary Information Return 2013" (PDF). Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "272099 – Design Council: Charity Overview". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "272099 – Design Council: Charity Framework". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  6. ^ Carmona, Matthew; Magalhaes, Claudio De; Natarajan, Lucy (2016-12-19). Design Governance: The CABE Experiment. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-60768-7.
  7. ^ "Design Council facilitates City scholarship". City University London. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Clarkson, John; Coleman, Roger; Keates, Simeon; Lebbon, Cherie, eds. (2003-04-02). Inclusive Design: Design for the Whole Population. London, UK: Springer. p. 515. ISBN 978-1-85233-700-1.
  9. ^ The University of Brighton Design Archives: Design Council Archive
  10. ^ Temple, Martin (28 July 2011). "[CABE is now part of the Design Council]" (PDF) (typescript). Letter to Alireza Sagharchi. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Design Council Cabe recruits Built Environment Experts (BEEs)". Neighbourhoods Green. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  12. ^ Thompson, Max (April 16, 2014). "Stellar list of architects join new CABE review panel". Architects' Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  13. ^ Mark, Laura (February 14, 2013). "Cabe updates design review guidance". Architects' Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "A guide to our Built Environment Experts (BEEs)". Design Council. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "Network of Built Environment Experts launched". Architects Choice. 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  16. ^ "Built Environment". Design Council. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Fulcher, Merlin (December 5, 2012). "Cabe boss steps down". Architects' Journal. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  18. ^ Waite, Richard (February 18, 2011). "CABE merge: 'reset button' for design review". Architects' Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  19. ^ McDermott, Catherine (1992). Essential Design. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7475-1936-2.
  20. ^ a b c "Our history". Design Council. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  21. ^ "The Design Centre". VADS. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  22. ^ Whitworth, Lesley (2006). Hausman, William J. (ed.). Inscribing Design on the Nation: The Creators of the British Council of Industrial Design (PDF). Business History Conference (2005). Business and Economic History. 3. Minneapolis, Minnesota. p. 1. ISSN 1941-7349. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2014. The Council was re-named the Design Council in 1972 and is still in existence, albeit with a redefined mission statement and a greatly altered modus operandi
  23. ^ a b "Design Council Archive". University of Brighton. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Temple, Martin (October 2010). "The Design Council" (PDF). Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  25. ^ Benton, Charlotte (January 1994). "The Future Design Council by John Sorrell". Journal of Design History. 7 (4): 310–312. doi:10.1093/jdh/7.4.310. JSTOR 1316074.
  26. ^ "Design Council Enterprises Limited 07211046". Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  27. ^ Design Council (September 2012). "Annual Report and Accounts For the year ended 31 March 2012" (PDF). p. 5. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  28. ^ "Our finances". Design Council. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  29. ^ "Design Council and CABE confirm merger". Planning magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  30. ^ "Design Council Commission For Architecture And The Built Environment 07580913". Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  31. ^ "Design Council names Sarah Weir as new chief executive - Design Week". Design Week. 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  32. ^ a b Ford, Simon; Davis, John. "Design Council Slide Collection: an online guide to the resource". VADS. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  33. ^ Design : the journal of the Design Council. OCLC. OCLC 612326761.
  34. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (October 30, 2007). "The long, quiet death of the Design Council". The Guardian. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  35. ^ "Design / [Periodical]". Library Catalogue. OCAD University. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  36. ^ "British Design Awards 1987". VADS. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  37. ^ Temple, Paul; Swann, Peter (June 1995). "Competitions and Competitiveness: The Case of British Design Awards". Business Strategy Review. 6 (2): 41–52. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8616.1995.tb00089.x. ISSN 1467-8616. OCLC 40336500.