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Home & Building, Volume 12 Number 6 (June-July 1950)

Plenty of Scope

page 53

Plenty of Scope

The problem of fitting the industrial designer into the existing set-up of industry is one that must be faced. There are some industries in which the typical manufacturer produces a steady stream of new models or new patterns, and can provide full-time employment for a designer or designers on his staff. But, in industry as a whole, there are many firms which make only one or two staple products, and only once in five or ten years are those products redesigned. For them, it would be uneconomic to have on the staff a man of real creative ability, if there was only a job of work for him at infrequent intervals. In such firms, the best solution is to use the services of a consultant or freelance designer on a fee basis. In Britain (and indeed in most of the major industrial countries) the consultant designer is a new profession, precarious, perhaps, but rewarding in more senses than one to those who succeed in it. The consultant, as compared with the staff designer, generally has the disadvantage of less thorough knowledge of the materials and production methods employed by any one of his clients, but on the other hand he has the advantage of wider experience, and may be able to meet one industry's problems with solutions from another's experience.

In the present, and in the foreseeable future, staff designer and consultant designer are complementary rather than competitive one with the other. United Kingdom industry provides plenty of scope for both of them; and fortunately, it is beginning to realise this fact.

page 42