Good design has the potential to bring prosperity and improve the quality of life for people in Northern Ireland. This was the message from Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Leslie Morrison, speaking last night at a reception for representatives of the Design Council.The reception, held in Ormeau Baths Gallery, was part of a two-day programme organised by Invest NI to mark the Design Council’s first visit to Northern Ireland for a national meeting.

The Design Council is a government funded body that ensures people in business, education and government understand how effective design can help them achieve their objectives.
In his address to the members Mr Morrison underlined the importance for Northern Ireland companies of embracing innovation in design and developing a world-class reputation for design capability.

“Design, used well, improves the environments we work and live in, the products we make and use, the way we communicate with each other and even the way in which Northern Ireland is perceived as a place to visit or do business. Invest NI is committed to encouraging a design conscious culture within business. We will soon be launching an important document through our Design Group called ‘Design Futures’ which points the way to economic growth in Northern Ireland through design.

“We can develop a world class reputation in design but it will require our designers to live up to their potential and our companies to invest in that potential. It will require our companies to develop distinctive products and services that are differentiated from their global competitors. It will require a holistic and integrated design ethos at the heart of our business process.”

Mr Morrison went on to speak about the importance of collaboration and of taking a strategic and cross cutting approach to achieving a design conscious economy and a design aware society.

The invited audience also heard an address from the Chief Executive of the Design Council, Andrew Summers. This was followed by an opportunity for Design Council members to view an exhibition of products and design capability by some 18 local companies and consultants that are currently taking part in Invest NI’s Design Development Programme.

The two-day programme also includes a lecture by the Chairman of the Design Council, Sir Christopher Frayling. The lecture entitled: ’10 things people get wrong about design and business’ will be delivered this evening to an audience of local companies.

Invest Northern Ireland Design Group
The Group aims to develop and enhance the design capability of Northern Ireland industry. It promotes best practice in product design, the development of new products to market and the integration of design into the whole business process.

Design Council
The Design Council inspires and enables the best use of design by business, education and government to improve prosperity and well-being. The Council raises awareness of design through publications, exhibitions and practical projects, demonstrating how design adds value, boosts productivity and improves the way public services are planned and delivered.

Exhibiting companies
Blaney Motor Company, Ahoghill, manufacturers of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

MAGMA (Premier Underfloor Heating Ltd), Cookstown, manufacturers and suppliers of underfloor heating.

The Sperrin Group, Cookstown, producers of traditional crystal products.

W J Gilmore, Ballywalter, inventor of new, high efficiency barbecue system, in development.

Crane Furniture Ltd, Newry, specialist joinery manufacturer, developing new range of garden furniture.

Curtains-on-line, Londonderry, has developed a fully integrated design, ordering and manufacturing control system to supply curtains to the domestic market.

Petal Postforming Ltd, Irvinestown, specialises in the design and manufacture if toilet and design cubicles.

Wave Barrier, Belfast provides sound and staging equipment for outdoor events. Is developing a wave suppresser to enable water sports to take place in restricted waterways.

C & R Tretzo, Armagh, manufacturers of bathroom vanity units and furniture.

OPT Balloting Technologies (Pakflatt UK Ltd), Londonderry, manufacturers of equipment and consumables for the electoral process.

Clinivet (Favour Pet Foods), Randalstown, manufacture a wide range of pet foods and accessories.

Carn Plastics, Lurgan, reinforced glass fibre manufacturer, specialising in large-scale architectural moudings.

Exhibiting Consultants
Professor Trevor Whittaker, The Queen’s University of Belfast, is an expert in wave energy and water wave dissipation.

Campbell Engineering and Design, Newtownabbey, engineering and design consultancy.

Triplicate Isis, Belfast, specialises in image creation, strategic marketing and design/image building programmes.

Positive Design, Belfast, graphic design company.

Paradigm Product Development, Belfast, multi-disciplinary design consultancy covering product, graphic and brand design.

J W McIlroy Electronic Consultant, Belfast, is a leading expert in the design of circuitry with particular expertise in telemetry communication.