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Five of the UK’s best designers are to be recognised for their outstanding contribution to design and society by becoming Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at an award ceremony to be held at the RSA on Thursday 26 November 2015.

The award is regarded as the highest honour a designer can receive in the UK and will be presented by Vikki Heywood CBE, RSA Chairman. This year’s appointees are:

  • Michael Anastassiades RDI for his excellence and innovation in lighting design and supporting young designers, manufacturing and making in the UK
  • Kate Blee RDI for contributing her outstanding expertise in textiles to social investment projects and therapeutic public spaces
  • Kim Colin RDI for her sustained excellence in product design and applying design thinking to create thriving and sustainable enterprises
  • Karen Nicol RDI for pushing new boundaries in fabric and stitch design, promoting recycled textiles and designing for Fine Cell Work that teaches creative needlework to prisoners.
  • David Pearson RDI for his distinctive and innovative contribution to British publishing and commitment to design education.

 Three Honorary RDI awards will also be given to non-UK designers:

  • Ronan Bouroullec Hon RDI and Erwan Bouroullec Hon RDI for their progressive and influential work across products, furniture and public spaces and impact on contemporary design culture
  • Niall McLaughlin Hon RDI for his innovative and contemplative spaces and commitment to teaching and education to inform best practice.

Commenting on the RDIs RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said:

The RSA is committed to encouraging and rewarding outstanding designers who challenge convention, discover new insights, and improve our quality of life. These eight leading practitioners are from wide-ranging disciplines and are united by a driving commitment to innovate, create, educate and inspire others through design.

Following the RDI presentations, fashion designer and educationalist Betty Jackson CBE RDI, incoming Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, will give the 2015 RDI Address: ‘Craft and Technology: the twin pillars of innovation’, which will explore creativity and innovation in design.

Betty Jackson is one of Britain’s foremost fashion designers. She has an international reputation and has been successful at every level of the industry, from the high street to her own-label collection. Throughout her career she has been closely involved in arts education with a particular focus on the quality of degrees in textile and fashion design. Betty Jackson is a Board Member of Creative Skillset and Patron of the charity Smart Works.

Commenting on being inaugurated as the new RDI Master, Betty Jackson said:

I am honoured and delighted to be elected Master of the Faculty of the RDIs and to chair such a unique group of  brilliant designers from so many diverse disciplines. I look forward to an exciting two years, during this period of change and global turbulence, when it is more and more evident that designers should lead the way in working to improve people’s lives.

For additional information on the 2015 RDIs and Hon RDIs please contact

Notes to Editors

  • The distinction Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) was established by the RSA in 1936 and is awarded annually to designers of all disciplines who have achieved sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Only 200 British designers can hold the title RDI, and non-UK designers are awarded the honorary title Hon RDI. There are now 151 RDIs and 59 Honorary RDIs. Members include Terence Conran, Jonathan Ive, James Dyson, Vivienne Westwood, and Thomas Heatherwick.
  • The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry was formed in 1938 as the association of Royal Designers for Industry.  Many of the Royal Designers work with the RSA both individually and as a body, for example, serving as jurors in the RSA Student Design Awards scheme, and sharing their design expertise with the RSA Family of Academies.

For more information contact RSA Interim Head of Media Sarah Horner on 020 7451 6893 or


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