Mrs. Thatcher and Industrial Design

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, a legendary politician of a generation and a former British Prime Minister known as the "Iron Lady", is an insightful supporter and executor of industrial design, although her evaluation is controversial.


Industry voice

Central Academy of Fine Arts: At the beginning of the last century, British design began to stagnate and lag behind, often staying in theoretical exploration, but lacking the development of design practice. In addition to the decline of British manufacturing industry, British modern design fell behind the international level for quite a while. In order to revitalize British design, Mrs. Thatcher made great efforts to advocate and set up a design school with her own house, making contributions to the developed British design culture and even the developed industry.

Tong Huiming SID_ GAFA: It was not this sentence that I first heard from her, but the cabinet meeting she presided over in 1982, which was attended by the ministers of industry and education. "Design" was promoted from primary and secondary schools as a "national curriculum", aiming to cultivate consumers with good design taste for the future society. In 1987, she chaired the high-level meeting for the second time to check the progress of the past five years.

Xiao Yong's design: British Prime Minister Thatcher passed away. Her wisdom: "There can be no government, but there can be no industrial design". Her promotion of the British design industry led the creative industry in Europe, and she was the head of government who directly promoted the design industry in the early days.

She also had a famous saying that inspired the global industrial design industry: Britain can have no Prime Minister, but it can't have no industrial designers.

Mrs. Thatcher and Industrial Design (Figure 2)

On April 8, 2013, Mrs. Thatcher died of stroke at the age of 87. She once had a famous saying that inspired the global industrial design industry: "There can be no government, but there can be no industrial design." Let's light a candle for such a prime minister who pays close attention to industrial design, and then come to British industrial design.

Britain is the birthplace of industrial design in the world. Different from most European countries, Britain's industrial design was developed with the direct support of the government. This practice has been adhered to until now.


1、 Government and Design

In 1944, the National Design Committee was established as a government agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, whose main function is to work closely with the government. Aim To promote the continuous development of its functions in strengthening the connection with the commercial and educational departments. They strongly advocated that Britain is a multi-ethnic country, and the design should reflect diversity. Technically, everyone has come together, but each nation can express its own personality with its own cultural connotation. For design education, students are encouraged to learn innovative thinking and ideas, and innovative talents are welcomed by the society.

2、 Enterprise and Design

Most British enterprises believe that through design, the creativity and innovation of products have been strengthened, the service quality has been improved, the product quality has been improved, and the profits and sales have been increased. Nearly two of the five enterprises (about 39%) now have an elite design team, 9% of them have their own designers, and 17% of them employ design consulting companies with the basis of advertising companies. The larger the enterprise, the more likely it is to have its own design department. For enterprises with 200 or more employees, 53% have design ability, while for enterprises with fewer than 200 employees, only 29% have design ability.

3、 Design and Innovation

Arthur Pross, former president of the International Federation of Industrial Design Associations (ICSID), pointed out that "industrial design is an imaginative development activity to meet human material needs and psychological desires." Without imagination, strong creativity and creativity to solve specific problems, there is no design ability beyond the conventional.

Simon Powell also believes that innovative products are closely related to people's life style and should be paid great attention to. We usually say that technology generally refers to hardware technology, that is, function and performance. We should pay more attention to the design of software technology. For example, the technical performance in the product is very high, but when people use it, it is very simple and easy. We need to do a lot of behavior analysis, do a lot of research, position the design of new products, and also promote the development of designers' understanding. Due to the rapid development of living standards and different living patterns, frequent investigation to keep designers away from life is the key to innovation.

4、 Status of the design industry

The success of the design industry is often related to the increasing material and spiritual needs of the social market. The key lies in whether his product design is on the right track and forward-looking, and all of this depends on the profound understanding and wise decisions of the industry's senior management on design management.

Most design enterprises and companies in Britain share a common idea that design is a group creative activity.

5、 Design and Future

With the merger, differentiation and diversification of the market, the market has become more brutal. The design pressure for value-added will increase continuously. In the image of product design, more attention will be paid to:

1. Brand, quality and benefit;

2. Excellent use function, including advanced technology and simple use;

3. Create products that can communicate with people and have spiritual influence.


The design creates the market, is our this rapid development time inevitable, is the economic development big trend. Faced with the dazzling market and well-designed products, as well as the opportunities and challenges in new fields, industrial designers in various countries have demonstrated their design style to people with their own design strength. "Nothing is as international as design." Whether it is an enterprise or a country, ignoring today's design will inevitably lose tomorrow's market. This is not sensationalism, but a real fact!

In the economic development process of western developed countries, design plays an important role, and the product design strategy adopted by governments of various countries has become a booster for industrial take-off.

France is a country with an early start of industrial design in the West, which had extensive influence on Europe before the 1920s. Since the 1980s, the French government has taken a series of effective measures to support the cause of industrial design. In that year, President Mitterrand decided to first change the classical furniture in his Elysee private residence to modern style furniture, showing his attention and encouragement to industrial design. By the mid-1980s, French product design had gradually caught up with the international advanced ranks, making French clothing, cosmetics, furniture and automobiles a pillar industry.

In 1919, German Bauhaus Design School was established, and Germany began to rise industrial design and become an industrial design center, which gave the German industrial economy wings.

Following closely, American entrepreneurs also realized that technology and management must be reflected in the form of commodities through industrial design in order to obtain greater profits.

After the 1950s, Japan also saw the power of industrial design, and took design as the core of high-tech intensive, took the modernization of industrial design as the basic national policy and strategic guidance of Japan's economic development, put forward the national policy of "building the country through science and technology, and opening up design", and vigorously developed industrial design. The international economic circles agree that "Japan's economic power=design power".

British design policy has a history of more than 100 years since the Industrial Revolution. From the establishment of the Industrial Design Association in 1944 to its transformation into an industrial association in 1970, the government attached more importance to design. In 1982, the British Prime Minister Thatcher presided over the work of the British Minister of Industry. At a high-level seminar on industrial design entitled "Product Design and Market Success", Mrs. Thatcher pointed out pointedly that "the reason why Britain is backward is that it does not know and pay attention to industrial design". As a result, the long-term strategy and specific policies for the development of British design were formulated, and it was pointed out that "the hope of creating more employment opportunities for British enterprises lies in the successful sale of more British products in the domestic and international markets. If the importance of good design is forgotten, British industry will never be competitive and will never occupy the market". Later, she emphasized that "industrial design is the lifeblood of British industry, which is more important to Britain than the Prime Minister's work to a certain extent."

Since then, the British government has made a large amount of investment in industrial design, including the funding plan and supporting design plan of design consultants. In only three years, it has achieved remarkable results in promoting the international competitiveness of domestic products. 20% of the products have entered the international market, and the total profit in six years is 500 million pounds, far more than the government's investment of more than 20 million pounds.

Began to consulting

Please feel free to consult us!