Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted as part fufillment for the requriements of the Masters in Professional Design Practise to the Technological University Dublin in 2009.


The research question addresses the issue of the structure of organisations that represent the interests of design and designers on the island of Ireland. The role of designers in Ireland is seen by society as marginal, rather than one central to the economic, social, and cultural well being of the island and those who live on it. This problem is exacerbated, as the organisational structures of those who play a key part are both confused and confusing. The answer to the question of what is an optimal structure lies in the literature that has been written on the subject and the experiences of the people who have played a key role in design organisations both on the island of Ireland and abroad. The significant literature was reviewed and ten key people were interviewed as part of this dissertation. The dissertation ends with conclusions and recommendations. These, if adopted, will help designers make better use of their collective resources, enabling them to increase the awareness of the importance of the role that design plays on the island. The island of Ireland is celebrated for its creative skills; the arts, literature and music. All are world renowned. Design is a creative activity. So why is Irish design not celebrated widely? The dissertation concludes that part of the answer lies in the fragmentation and dispersion of Irish designers, their lack of unity and their lack of a common voice. With no voice, the interests of Irish design and its designers are simply not being listened to; either on the island, throughout Europe, or internationally. The dissertation recommends that the representation of designers should be seen as separate to the representation of design. Design promotion can be undertaken on an allisland basis, whilst design support should be undertaken locally. If each of these activities is clearly defined and delivered, then we can move toward the creation of a design council. This has been done successfully in Norway, a country that has been striving to reduce its economic dependence on oil. Norway has invested heavily in design support and promotion for over ten years with significant results. This island has lessons to learn from Norway. The head of the Norwegian Design Council, Jan R. Stavik was interviewed as the final piece of this dissertation.