Office For The Design Economy explores the contribution by designers working in both design specific and non-design industries.

As a business tool, an outcome of a design-led approach is to create wealth and optimise costs. Creativity within business generates ideas and innovation exploits them. Good design connects the two and links ideas to markets, shaping them to suit the needs of customers and users.



This strategy aims to embrace all that design is and needs to promote growth and prosperity. The term Design Economy is used to describe the contribution of design across the whole of our economy, society and culture. Design is a powerful tool that can change people’s lives, the businesses and services they use, and the societies and environments in which they live. Specifically, this strategy seeks to target the power of design on five priority areas.



1. Design and Economic Growth

As a business tool, Design is about creating wealth and enhancing social and cultural wellbeing.  Creativity generates ideas and innovation exploits them. Design connects the two, shaping them to suit the needs of customers and users.



Design, whether through fashion, games, products or spaces is a powerful way of finding and making meaning and offers distinctive channels to communicate individual and group identity and expression or a sense of place.



Design can transform environments, places and spaces with multiple benefits to a wide range of users of, for example: schools, housing, towns, cities and public spaces.


4. Design and Public Services

Design facilitates the development of better and more effective public services and contributes to social innovation, thereby improving the quality of life for all the citizens of Scotland. Design thinking could help ameliorate problems in health, transport and crime.


5. Design and Society

Design as a process can transform public and civic life by tackling social issues; it offers people-centred solutions to complex societal problems. New approaches such as community-centred or eco-centred design herald new ways of enhancing quality of life social well-being.


The Bridge to a Design Policy

Design is coming to the fore in policy terms, particularly in our competitor economies in South East Asia and other nations. Globally, specialist design strategies, promotional centres, biennales, festivals and other initiatives are growing at an exponential rate. In that context Scotland has a distinguished design history and a depth of expertise and capacity to build upon and celebrate in this Year of Architecture, Design and Innovation.

Scotland needs to draw on its design strengths and fully exploit these as a competitive advantage. Design could make Scotland a leading creative, competitive, and knowledge-based economy. We have lots of small, smart companies, talented individuals, intellectual assets including IP and some large companies in Food and Drink and Oil and Gas which thrive, because they are design-led.


What does design sector need to flourish?

This strategy is the basis of a new design narrative. In order to deliver on its full potential, ranged on the 5 areas above, design in Scotland needs to be highlighted and a language developed that all can understand and share. Ultimately, this might be embodied in a design policy for Scotland led by industry. The following steps are precursor to that policy:

1. Scotland has lacked a coherent voice that speaks for design in all its contemporary diversity. This strategy has brought together the range of designers and design disciplines for the first time. This is the work of OFTDE.

2. Better understanding by business of the strategic benefits of embedding design and creating an environment in which design is seen as an investment. A number of design champions - spokespeople from beyond the sector will be identified to amplify the Power of Design.

3. Support for designers to develop their products and services, scale up and internationalise their work.

4. Continue to encourage the Design Industry to develop the ability to represent itself so that the Design Policy continues to evolve a continually changing business environment.

5. Celebration – stage events that showcase Design in Scotland.

6. Business skills – many design practices are small or even micro businesses. In order to maximise potential, these businesses need the skills to deliver their business plans.


Feedback please. here


Nominate Champions of Design


Agent #1
Could be you.

Agent #2
Giant of Industry

Agent #3
Industrial Designer


Call for agents & contributors.

Agent #4
Senior Architect

Agent #8

Agent #12
Private Equity

Agent #5
Senior Designer

Agent #9
Senior Designer

Agent #13
Service Designer

Agent #16

Agent #6
Ad Agency

Agent #10
Design Engineering

Agent #14
Business Development

Agent #17
Business Development

Business Development

Agent #11
Brand Manager

Agent #15
Design Shop Owner

Open Positions

Blog Editor

Could you co-ordinate our blog? We would be interested to hear from anyone who could manage this task.



  • Post Grad
  • Interested in design policy
  • Good writer.

Design Intern

There may be a project for a student of design or economic policy with an interest in the subject. Worth a discussion if you have some spare time to contribute.



  • Post Grad
  • Interested in design policy, strategy, research.
  • Good visual skills.


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