Title: Manchester gets some straight talking
Text: Manchester gets some straight talking
Following its exhibition, Profit by Design, which was held in The Design Centre last May, the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers has now launched a series of regional design conferences to illustrate to manufacturers the effectiveness of a comprehensive design policy, and to promote the wider and more efficient use of the designer. The first of these, also called Profit by Design, was held in Manchester last October.
The conference was opened by Hulme Chadwick, vice president of the SIA, who quoted from the report by the National Economic Development Council, which states that "The principal reason for imports of mechanical engineering products, including machine tools, is that the imported machines had performance and design characteristics which could not be matched by UK suppliers." Mr Chadwick underlined the point that this was not due to a lack of engineering
talent, but felt that a tradition of 'native inventiveness' was often neglected. He also used this reference to drive home to the manufacturers present that the designer differed little from other members of a manufacturing concern - he was spurred by the same motives and also possessed "a burning desire to improve the product. . . not only to increase productivity, which in itself is not enough, but to create rapid sales of well designed products suited to the customer's needs". Mr Chadwick's plea for an integrated design approach was reiterated by Alex Moulton, who cited his own work (he is the manufacturer and designer of the Moulton bicycle) as an example of a successful reappraisal of a traditional product.
The effectiveness of an overall design policy was described by John Doggart, chairman of Friedland Doggart Group Ltd. who said that "In 1965 there is no such thing as a home and export market, but only the wider market of which Britain is a part. We should design for a market of 1,000 million and not just the 50 million of us." He also pointed out that
"at the functional level of good design, we reap a bonus from rationalisation and variety reduction", but "this could only be achieved by the introduction of design at management level". It was pointed out, by Bob Gill, that once an overall design policy was started, it should include the work of the graphic designer. Without his contribution, a large amount of design effort would be nullified. His task was the visual communication of the product and the company to the customer, an d these approaches should set as high a standard as the product itself.
The conference was attended by more than 80 delegates, including representatives from the SIA, and was a most promising start to the series. It was supported by an exhibition in the Manchester Building and Design Centre, which showed a number of successful case histories, providing visual backing for what the speakers said. The SIA is performing an extremely useful service by holding such conferences in industrial centres. Surely industry cannot fail to hear what is being said on its own doorstep ?