A framework for ranking nations has been created that considers design at a national level as a system comprising enabling conditions, inputs, outputs and outcomes.
A series of indicators has been identified that collectively enable a picture of national design capability to be considered, in both absolute and relative terms.
The „relative“ indicators (e.g. number of design graduates per million population) help to show the relative intensity of design capabilities within a nation.
The „absolute“ indicators (e.g. total number of design graduates) show the overall scale of the design capability in each country.
This framework has been used to collate data on 12 countries.
It is evident that Korea is emerging as a new design powerhouse, with other countries in East Asia displaying similar ambitions.
The UK retains leading capabilities in design education, but the design services sector has reduced in size over the past ten years.
Many separate bodies, both privately and publicly funded, promote the importance of
design and provide support to industry in the use of design. The main national body
is the German Design Council, which was founded in 1953 to ‘meet the growing need
of the business world for information about design.’65 However, many other regional
organisations exist, and there are individual design centres in each of the country’s
16 states. For this reason, identifying the amount invested at a national level in design
promotion and support is difficult. It is estimated that public investment is relatively
small in comparison with other nations, at about £1.4 million in 2004.
Design education in Germany is the responsibility of each state, and generally takes
place at technical universities, and in some of the traditional universities. Many design
graduates will have completed an apprenticeship before going to university, and as
a result, the average age of design graduates is 29. Given the overall size of Germany,
relatively few graduates are produced, at around 4,500 in 2006 (or 55 per million
population).66 In comparison, there are nearly 13,000 graduates per year in the UK.
German firms register more international designs than any other nation in this study,
at 65,000 in 2002. For international trademarks, Germany would lie ahead of the UK,
with 58,500 registrations in 2005.