A Successful Design Industry


What elements do you think make up a successful design industry?

e.g. Government investment, corporate sponsored exhibitions, good designers!, etc.

And what countries do you think demontrate what a successful design industry is? I think Holland are backing their designers 101%!


the government can’t even deliver the mail regularly, I wouldn’t want to have their nose in my design firm.

I think the best thing for design is a stimulated economy.

Competive international market segments with lots of mid-range players seem to have the best design.

My theory is that all the major competitiors reach a performance plataue where all of their, lets say toasters toast bread, the industry can go one of thre ways:

  1. price wars which leads to comoditization and usually a quality set back

  2. differntiation where each of the competitiors stakes a seprate piece of the conumer market and competes on aesthetic, usability, features, and brand.

  3. blend of both where the consumer wins

In the case of toasters it did a bit of both, you can go to KMart and get a 9.99 white box that toasts bread just as well as a $400 Dualit from W&S, and there is a lot of stuff inbetween. Better yet you could just toast the bread in your oven!

Cars also did both, you can get a car fro Hyundai, Suzuki, Chevy, or Kia for about $10k US or less, and you can get a Bently, a Rolls, an Austin Martin if you choose as well

These kinds of market segments are the most exciting because the people have the ability to choose! I’ve met millionares who drive beat up old dodge omni’s that where $5k new! I’ve met guys right out of school rolling Audi A6’s with $2k tire/wheel packages. The choice is yours:

me I drive a Toyota but I also own a 4 slot chrome Dualit. I got my own issues.

I think its relative to what “successful design” is.

Each customer has their own perception of success in design, and likewise each product that they perceive to be successful is realtive to their wants and needs.

But then again thats not to say that there is universal nothing that about a customers perceptions, in fact some of the most “successful” products are perceived universally across numerous customers.

IMHO there are numerous variables that determine a products success, but external variables, such as Government subsidies, economics, competition etc do not have as much impact in a design as the internal variables of use, construction, styling and brand/marketing (perception control). Competition and economics tends to drive bottom lines lower, focusing more on price than value, (EXCEPT in high end, low demand luxury products.).

Ultimately a product’s success is determined by its reflection of the perceived values of its customer and its realtionship to the customer. I know it sounds deep but its really not. Someone buys a product because they either want or need it. So its success is determined by the fulfillment of its use, or if its bought by who its designed for.

Point taken.

But I think the question was what makes a successful design industry, not what makes a successful design. When you look at the industry as a whole it is effected by many factors beyond its control that can foster or hinder conditions.

yeah I think I jumped into it too quickly :blush: sorry…

I guess thats a good use for the “preview” button below…

So I’ll repost with my above comment in mind:

I say Demand is the biggest element. If there is a demand for design the industry will be successful. Successfully designed products create more of a demand for designed products, or more design, which equals a successful design industry. I’ll go even further and say that local and regional demand determines it. Metropolitan area design industries are thriving much more than rural or suburban industries. Also one needs to have access to design, because its pretty hard to describe a Bentley to someone who is unfamiliar with a $170,000 car. Throw in competiting designers within the industry to stoke the design process; without competition there is stagnation…

so to get to the original point of what elements determine successful design (in no real order):

1.) Demand
2.) Region and location
3.) Access to Design
4.) Competition (not design contests or exhibitions…real, at-market competition)

External factors can such as Government subsidies , exhibitions etc can mitigate/negate these elements; but they only artificially replace them.