The designer as 'gatekeeper' in manufacturing industry

Walsh, Vivien and Roy, Robin (1985). The designer as 'gatekeeper' in manufacturing industry. Design Studies, 6(3) pp. 127–133.



For the past three years the Design Innovation Group at the Open University, in collaboration with Vivien Walsh at UMIST, has been examining the processes, practices and management of product design, development and innovation in several sectors of manufacturing industry.

This paper presents some of the findings, in particular from the survey of plastic products sector, but with additional evidence from a preliminary analysis of data in the office furniture, domestic heating equipment and electronic business equipment industries.

The focus of the paper is on the employment and activities of product designers who, in the commercially successful firms, manage to integrate the contributions of marketing, design and production in product development. The paper also includes some evidence on the relationship between 'good design' and business performance.

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