It Takes A Country: The 2008 Design Competitive Countries

Finding: Korea has many designers, but not very many resources from the state or major companies.

Finding : The United States supports design, but has very few designers.

A new evaluation tool for design competitiveness, shows that it takes a country to support its native designers, and it ranks the countries now leading in design competitiveness for 2008. Guess which country is number one....


Design Of The Design Competitiveness Evaluation Tool

You may be partial to designs coming from Japan or Italy or the United States. It's your design "eye," your own individual taste, which makes that very personal assessment. But for the first time, led by the Korean Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP), 130 international representatives created an evaluation tool to determine which design communities are most supported by their countries.

The process began with an online survey to 30 designers, 80 consumers, and 20 policy managers in the design process from the 17 countries shown in the chart below.



The results of the survey led to a definition of design competitiveness: "The "collective" design competitiveness of a nation is in effect determined by design competitiveness of its sub-units: public facilities, industry/corporation and the people."

Thus, for each country, nine individual areas would be ranked (three areas x three measurements) to determine its overall design competitiveness:

  • Public goods level (design policy) : Measured by performance, investment environment, and human resources
  • Design industry level (design industry): Measured by performance, investment environment, and human resources
  • The people/consumers level (design culture):: Measured by performance, investment environment, and human resources

A three-dimensional matrix was designed in which the 17 countries could be seen and measured on the resulting nine scores.




2008 Ranking Of Design Competitiveness By Country


The initial group of respondents then answered another survey which let to the rankings of the 17 countries on nine different scales. Here are the overall results for the 17 countries measured for design competitiveness at the end of 2008:



Not surprising that Italy and France are at the top of this scale, but it is surprising, at least for me, that Finland, Sweden, and Denmark are not higher on the the design competitive scale, as their governments do seem to be very supportive. But, you will have to read the International Ranking Of Design Competition Report (link below) to see where particular strengths and weaknesses are. They are all reported there.

Finding: The most competitive companies by product design ranked as top five are: (pictured)



The fine points of the 2008 International Ranking Of Design Competitiveness are educational and noteworthy for designers and manufacturers, but equally interesting for the consumer. I have quoted a few specifics to you in the teaser "findings," but I recommend a read, or a good skimming, of the entire study, which includes results of each element of the overall rankings by country.

Finding: The countries that had high rankings overall were also ranked as having the most beautiful cities.


Source: 2008 International Ranking Of Design Competitiveness is in PDF format and may be downloaded at