Limited Perspectives; Limited Solutions. by Elena Etter, Jana Tauschinski, Sam Shannon

This project was a response from a Design Council brief during our MA data visualization at LCC. We set out to reframe the story about the current and future state of the UK design economy drawing data and text from its 2018 Design Report.

A solution starts with a vision but... the Design Economy in the UK currently has a limited point of view.

Diversity not only speaks of composition, diversity is an asset; and we need diversity in perspectives to provide design solutions for everyone.

This project aims to tell a story story about the current and future state of the UK design economy through a quantitative lens.

We focused on data form the 2018 Design Report, specifically looking at gender diversity. Our mission was to create a visualisation, which allows policy makers or people working in the design economy to easily understand the current limitations of design economy and the real world implications of restricted perspectives in design.

In order to update data for a current view of the design economy, we accessed the most recent available data from NOMIS: Annual Population Survey (Oct 19 - Sept 20), and mirrored the methodology used in the Design Economy report (UK Design Council, 2020).

We are aware that gender diversity only makes up a small fraction of the wider discourse on diversity. Data on ethnicity, disability and other protected characteristics were not available at the right granularity due to small sample sizes – highlighting the scale of the issue at hand. We hope that this visual exploration serves as a starting point to further interrogate other aspects of diversity (or lack thereof) in the UK’s design economy, whilst showing the need for more inclusive data collection in public sector social research.

A collaborative process of making, storyboarding and prototyping allowed us to develop our final piece of long-form, data storytelling. The metaphor of the Pantone colour chips felt suited to the context of the design sector.