Design industries and policies in the UK and China : a comparison

Sun, Q 2010, 'Design industries and policies in the UK and China : a comparison' , Design Management Review, 21 (4) , pp. 70-77.

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Design policy has been an area of heated debate in recent literature. It’s clear that it is highly relevant to national industries. For example, the Korean government’s manifesto in 1988, which put design at the center of the national strategy, has been instrumental in the rise of Samsung and LG, and has boosted the national economy; and Denmark’s position as a creative country on the international market has been supported by an official resolution passed by the government in 2007. However, the success of these cases does not automatically confer success in another country. Design policy and its deployment are largely constrained by the dynamics within the design industry and its wider context—the economy. Given the significant differences among various design industries and their economic environments, it is unlikely that design policy can be considered in isolation from these variables. Therefore, a fundamental issue is how these variables influence design policy; and in return, how design policy changes the dynamics within the design industry. In order to understand this, two design industries are analyzed here: one based in the UK, representing knowledge-based economies; and the other in China, representing industrial economies. The UK’s move from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy has been evidenced by a fall in its share of manufacturing output, and a shift towards higher-skilled professions. Many have argued that these changes reinforce the importance of innovation and value-added design in the UK. For its part, China, as the “factory of the world,” is undergoing a transition from “Made in China” to “Designed in China,” and has put significant effort and resources into building an indigenous design capability on the basis of high investment, high-level skills, and a low cost base. Chinese businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the value that design can offer to their products and services, and are keen to start moving up the value chain and benefit from the accompanying higher margins. Design in both countries appears to have a strategic role critical to their economies, although the context significantly differs between the two. For both countries, it is equally uncertain whether design is up to the challenge and what policies and incentives should be in place to achieve expectations in the long term. Given this, the design industries and design policies in these two countries are investigated to explore the relationship between the design policy and the industrial context.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Design Management Review
Publisher: DMI
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1557-0614
Depositing User: Dr Qian Sun
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2010 11:34
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 15:40

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