Puneet Varma (Editor)

Design Council

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Registration no.

Area served
United Kingdom

Hugh Dalton

8.855 million GBP

8.649 million GBP


John Mathers (Oct 2012–)

19 December 1944

Number of employees

Design Council Design Council

407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AB (City of London)

harness 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

Key people
Chair Martin Temple Chief Executive John Mathers

Chartered Society of Designers, AIGA, Design Research Society, American Institute of Architects, British Council


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


Design Council British Design Council Turns 70

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

The Design Council also runs two subsidiaries, the Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Design Council CABE) and Design Council Enterprises Limited.

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The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

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

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Design Council CABE, which is intended to be run as a “self-sustaining business”, was formed on April 1, 2011 from about 20 staff from the original CABE after it was merged with the Design Council. The BEE network was formed in 2012.


The Design Council started 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. And 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. It was 1947 successor Sir Gordon Russell who established the organisation's model for the next 40 years. Under Sir Paul Reilly in the early '70s, the organisation changed its name to the Design Council in 1972.

The Design Council was incorporated as a registered charity by Royal Charter in 1976, although it continued to operate as a non-departmental public body.

In December 1994 it underwent a restructuring, which resulted in its function being changed from being both an advisory body and a provider of goods and services to being primarily strategic, with a mission “to inspire the best use of design by the United Kingdom in the world context, in order to improve prosperity and wellbeing”.

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

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. It also officially merged with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) on the same day although Design Council CABE was incorporated four days earlier.

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.

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

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

The Design journal

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

Awards given

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


Design Council Wikipedia

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