The Design Council, formerly the Council of Industrial Design, is a United Kingdom charity incorporated by Royal Charter. Its stated mission is "to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better". It was instrumental in the promoting of the concept of inclusive design.
The Design Council operates two subsidiaries, the Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Design Council CABE) and Design Council Enterprises Limited.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment
The Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (DC CABE, alternatively Design Council CABE, CABE at the Design Council, or simply CABE), is one of Design Council’s two subsidiaries. It supports communities, local authorities and developers involved in built environment projects by providing services in three areas: design review, customised expert support, and training and continued professional development (CPD). These services are supported by a network of Built Environment Experts (BEEs), a multidisciplinary team of 250 experts from “architecture, planning and infrastructure backgrounds, as well as academics, health specialists, and community engagement workers”.
Design Council CABE, which is intended to operate as a self-sustaining business, was formed on 1 April 2011 with about 20 staff from the original CABE after it was merged with the Design Council. The BEE network was formed in 2012.
The Design Council began on 19 December 1944 as the Council of Industrial Design (COID), founded by Hugh Dalton, President of the Board of Trade in the wartime Government. Its objective was 'to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry'.
S. C. Leslie, the Council's first director, played an important part in the Britain Can Make It exhibition of 1946. His 1947 successor Sir Gordon Russell established the organisational model for the next 40 years. Under Sir Paul Reilly the organisation changed its name to the Design Council in 1972.
In December 1994 it was restructured, resulting in a functional change from being both an advisory body and a provider of goods and services to a primarily strategic mission “to inspire the best use of design by the United Kingdom in the world context, in order to improve prosperity and wellbeing”.
On 1 April 2011, it ceased to be a non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and became an independent registered charity, although it continued to receive grants from the Department.: 5  It also officially merged with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) on the same day although Design Council CABE was incorporated four days earlier.
In 2017, Design Council appointed Sarah Weir (OBE) as their CEO.
The Design Centre
Sir Gordon Russell, who was heavily involved in the 1951 Festival of Britain, examined ways to reform the education and training of new industrial designers. The Design Centre, in London's Haymarket, was officially opened on 26 April 1956.
The Council under Russell combined exhibitions with product endorsements, direct services to industry, commercial publishing and retail.
After the Design Council’s restructuring in 1994, the Design Centre was closed to the public. The Design Council continued to operate from the Design Centre until 1998.
The Design journal
The Council has hosted the British Design Awards, with the 1987 logo rights co-owned with Manchester Metropolitan University. It was suggested in 1995 in magazine that the awards made suitable benchmarks, contributing to industrial competitiveness.
- Chartered Society of Designers
- Royal Institute of British Architects
- Prince Philip Designers Prize
- Design Museum
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- Carmona, Matthew; Magalhaes, Claudio De; Natarajan, Lucy (2016-12-19). Design Governance: The CABE Experiment. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-60768-7.
- "Design Council facilitates City scholarship". City University London. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- Clarkson, John; Coleman, Roger; Keates, Simeon; Lebbon, Cherie, eds. (2003-04-02). Inclusive Design: Design for the Whole Population. London, UK: Springer. p. 515. ISBN 978-1-85233-700-1.
- The University of Brighton Design Archives: Design Council Archive
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- "A guide to our Built Environment Experts (BEEs)". Design Council. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- "Network of Built Environment Experts launched". Architects Choice. 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
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- Whitworth, Lesley (2006). Hausman, William J. (ed.). Inscribing Design on the Nation: The Creators of the British Council of Industrial Design (PDF). Business History Conference (2005). Business and Economic History. 3. Minneapolis, Minnesota. p. 1. ISSN 1941-7349. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
The Council was re-named the Design Council in 1972 and is still in existence, albeit with a redefined mission statement and a greatly altered modus operandi
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