Design Management for SMEs


Kathryn BurnsSchool of Fashion, Textiles and 3D Design


Since 1999, researchers at the University have conducted applied research into the design activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The key aim of this research has been to place design at the heart of company business strategies rather than a focus solely on economic survival. The team have built up significant expertise in this area over a number of years, undertaking audits and structured interviews to produce case studies of design management in action.

More recently, they have formed the Interiors and Lifestyle Futures group, funded by the European Regional Development Fund to assist a variety of SMEs across different sectors.

Who Benefits

Interiors and Lifestyle Futures have assisted over 300 companies, established 21 new businesses and secured over £3 million of grant funding since 2008. This has been achieved through individual reports, exhibitions showcasing the design credentials of the region and bespoke workshops.

Download the full impact case study submitted to REF 2014

Transforming the region’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through design management expertise

"As a result I’ve re-evaluated my marketing and pricing strategies and will introduce some new products to my range."

Penelope Jordan, textile artist