A comparative analysis of strategies for design promotion in different national contexts
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Design promotion takes place when there is a need to inform companies, governments or citizens about the benefits design can offer for economic and social development, and how to take full advantage of them. It can take several forms such as design programmes, support services for businesses and design policies. Although design promotion is practised widely in countries around the world, there is little academic research or background theory to support its advancement. Therefore, this thesis developed an approach to understanding design promotion, its rationale, scope, terminologies, practices and its potential development, through three key studies: (1) a historical review of design promotion; (2) a survey of current practices and their interrelation with economic development; and (3) case studies of design promotion practices in India, Brazil, Korea and Finland. This four-subject sample was then explored in a comparative analysis, which addressed the main objective of this research: the investigation of design promotion strategies in countries at different stages of economic development. Through grounded theory, a seven-category framework emerged from data to guide the comparative analysis. In the conclusions drawn by this research, significant differences were identified between advanced economies (represented by Korea and Finland) and developing countries (represented by India and Brazil) in four of the categories: rationale; design policy; national design system; and national context. In the other three categories (design programmes; design education; and professional design sector), differences were identified in the individual countries, but there was no evidence to support any generalisation that would characterise contrasting approaches at different stages of economic development. Following the investigation of the individual categories, this research examined their interrelation, which resulted in the recommendation of avenues for further research in the field of design promotion, such as the investigation of systemic failures in national design systems, and the political and economic factors that affect the implementation of national design policies.
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