Designers and Brexit  – A call to arms

Designers tend to be pretty liberal in their outlook and it’s fair to say that the majority of liberal, urban people were consistently pro-Remain. There’s been a lot of disappointment and despondency in our world about the outcomes, but as members of the design industry I can’t help feeling we need a bit of a shakubuku.

Design is about embracing change, taking the opportunity to work with change to make something better. We do our best work in dynamic environments, ones that are open to change and where significant impact is possible. Whatever we think about the referendum, the process and the result, the reality is that the vote for Brexit has just made our world significantly less stable, much harder to predict and much more open to disruption.

This isn’t true within a specific industry, a certain technology stack or a niche market, this is true across the whole country and in fact, the world. We find ourselves in a remarkable situation where everything is open to change. Human beings generally view change with trepidation, but designers know that change is good. We know from our daily practice that change, however it comes about, is what provides the opportunity for things to be better, and that embracing change yields better results than running from it.

So, as the whole of the UK finds itself on the cusp of an enforced change, surely this is our moment? Great strides have been taken in the last few years to convince business that design has something to offer beyond aesthetics. ‘Design Thinking’ is everywhere, Jonny Ive got knighted, the value of design is better understood than ever before.

Let’s capitalise on that. Let’s help our clients frame the uncertainty associated with this change as opportunity, help them design solutions to the challenges they face and help them do better business. After all, we are only doing our jobs if we help our clients change. Let’s take the chance to cement our position as part of the solution at a higher level with our clients, ensure we are not a nice to have, but an essential.

Creative solutions are our trade, change is an environment we are almost uniquely comfortable with as an industry and change is coming, in a big way. If we really believe that we have something to contribute, that we’re about more than crayons and pretty pictures, then surely now is the time for design to really make a difference?


Jay Nicholl

Strategy Director


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