Interview with Beth Gardner: latest news from the Design Council
Every now and again I work with the lovely marketing team at the Design Council. Although I know about their work with SMEs, I wanted to find out more about their strategic goals and campaigns. I interviewed Beth Gardner, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Design Council, to find out more.
Beth has worked at the Design Council for three years after building a strong career in marketing for charities and ethical brands. She is passionate about marketing for social good.
She first worked for a pet food company and ran a national campaign to raise money for rescue dogs. Beth followed this with a longer stint at the Body Shop as its ‘Head of Values and External Marketing’. She ran global campaigns on domestic violence and sex trafficking. She then moved to a new and dynamic team within an autism charity called Ambitious about Autism and Sightsavers, following which she joined the Design Council.
She said her preference was to work for medium-sized enterprises, as she'd found those to be the the most dynamic. She also likes the combination of working for social good and business.
She now oversees the Council's marketing strategy and runs campaigns. Her team looks after PR, digital engagement, events, marketing and graphic design.
Introducing the Design Council
So what is the Design Council and what does it do? Its goal is to champion design and show how it improves lives. This could be in any sector: business, education, public services and government. It is the UK Government’s advisor on design.
The Council is an independent charity. In 2011 it integrated with CABE, the government’s advisor on design in the built environment. It also receives some government funding and generates revenue through business services and training.
Beth gave me a great overview of some of the exciting campaigns her and her team are currently working on. Emerging themes include the ageing population, stimulating economic growth and improving health. I have just highlighted a few – you can see full details on the projects section of the Design Council website.
Design Council Spark
UK product designers and inventors can apply to win a place on the Design Council Spark programme which includes 20 weeks of support and up to £65k investment to develop prototypes and take their idea to market. The winners donate 5% of future sales revenue back into the fund, allowing the Council to support more designers. The deadline for applications is 31 January 15.
Ones to watch
To celebrate the Design Council’s 70th anniversary it is curating a selection of 70 designers that they feel represent the future of British Design – the Design Council’s Ones to Watch.
The stellar judging panel included Chloe Macintosh (co-Founder of Made.Com) and Martha Lane Fox, (co-founder of Lastminute.com). Look out for the results on 2 February 15 (and most likely another blog from me on the topic).
Design for Care
With an ageing population, quality of care is a huge issue. The Design Council has launched a five-year initiative called Design for Care to come up with new design solutions. How can you reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and create a system that is more personalised and preventative? The project includes four workstreams to look at growing informal care (family and friends for example), transforming our homes, enabling people to make effective choices and designing places and spaces for care.