The Royal Designers for Industry
What is an RDI?
The title 'Royal Designer for Industry' (RDI) was introduced by the RSA in 1936 to honour designers of excellence and promote the important contribution of design in manufacturing and industry.
The RDI award that began as a means by which to enhance the status of designers today remains the highest accolade for designers in the UK and is conferred to those who have shown sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Only 200 designers may hold the title at any time.
Royal Designers contribute to the RSA's design activity, notably through their involvement in the RSA Student Design Awards scheme, and the family of RSA Academies.
Since it was introduced, recipients of the honour have included Eric Gill, Gordon Russell, Barnes Wallis, Jonathan Ive, Vivienne Westwood, and Marc Newson. Royal Designers are responsible for designing the Millennium Bridge, the iPod, the Rolls-Royce jet engine, the Harry Potter film sets and the miniskirt among other things.
Outside the UK, a limited number of designers are given the award of Honorary Royal Designer for Industry (HonRDI). These include Dieter Rams, Milton Glaser, and Yohji Yamamoto.
The Faculty was formed as the association of Royal Designers for Industry. Its membership is a prestigious 'Who's Who' of leading-edge designers of all disciplines including engineering, graphics and interaction, product and furniture, fashion and textiles, and theatre and film design.
Read more about how RDIs are elected (PDF, 32MB).
Who are the Royal Designers and Honorary Royal Designers?
The RSA’s Design & Society programme argues that that the insights and processes of design can increase the resourcefulness of people and communities and has a vital role to play today in making society itself more resourceful.
For further information please email Melanie Andrews, RDI project manager.
RDInsights is a monthly podcast series of engaging and informal interviews conducted by Mike Dempsey RDI with fellow Royal Designers.
Listen to the latest interview with architect Sarah Wigglesworth, who became an RDI in 2012.