New names join Vivienne Westwood, Brian Eno and Jonathan Ive as Royal Designers for Industry

Press release

  • RSA announces new Royal Designers for Industry 2017 to help the UK thrive as part of government industrial strategy and fourth industrial revolution.
  • With place-making and inclusive growth rising on the agenda, new cohort of designers rewarded for contribution to bettering UK’s places and spaces.
  • Postholders to be rewarded for achievements in innovation at special ceremony on 30 November with new Master of RDIs to be inaugurated. 

Three leading designers have been elected to join creatives as diverse as Vivienne Westwood, Brian Eno and iPhone inventor Jonathan Ive as prestigious Royal Designers for Industry.

The three will be awarded the prestigious status Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at an award ceremony to be held at the RSA on Thursday 30 November 2017.

Only 200 people at any time may hold the title – awarded annually by a panel of design leaders.

Prominent postholders include leading UK innovators Terence Conran, James Dyson and Thomas Heatherwick.

The award is regarded as the highest honour a UK designer can receive and celebrates a substantial contribution for rethinking design for positive social, economic and environmental impact.

The awards will be presented by Vikki Heywood CBE, RSA Chairman, at a special ceremony on Thursday 30 November [media may accredit via [email protected]].

This year’s appointees are:

Alison Brooks RDI, for design excellence and innovation in urban regeneration and masterplanning, and public buildings for the arts, higher education and housing.

Alison said:

I am truly honoured to have been selected as a Royal Designer for Industry and to join an exceptional group of thinkers who bring new functionality and beauty to every day experience. I look forward to contributing to the brilliant RSA programmes, exchanging knowledge and supporting their design education mission.”

Morag Myerscough RDI, for ‘outstanding expertise in communication design and its transformational application to exhibitions and installations in public spaces’.

Morag said:

"It feels wonderful to be recognised by such an eminent group of people. I look forward to contributing to the RSA’s work in the future and to demonstrating how design can make a positive contribution to wider societal issues.”


Mike Rawlinson RDI, for ‘pioneering and influential work for ‘legible cities’ and improving our understanding and experience of the built environment’.

Mike said:

I am delighted to be recognised by the Royal Society of Arts and to receive the award of Royal Designer for Industry. Throughout my career I’ve believed in the idea and value of design in shaping and enriching our society for the better, in particular our public realm and transport systems, that have the potential to bind and connect us together. I hope the award of RDI will provide the opportunity for me to mentor and share ideas with others to shape the role of design in society”.

Following the RDI presentations, structural engineer Tristram Carfae RDI, incoming Master of the RSA’s Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, will give the 2017 RDI Address: Addicted to Design, and will discuss the value of the human aspects of design in an automated world.

Tristram Carfrae is a world leader in structural engineering design and Deputy Chair of Arup.

Commenting on being inaugurated as the new RDI Master, Tristram Carfrae, Arup fellow, said:

“As engineers we are rarely in the spotlight, so I am proud that this post recognises the importance of our design work.

“But it is important to remember we are part of an even more powerful design community. Whether we work as designers in fashion, architecture, or computing we help to improve people’s lives.

“Now more than ever, the world is relying on us to provide answers to challenges such as climate change, population growth and resource depletion. I would like to welcome the new Royal Designers for Industry to the Faculty. Our task is to encourage the next generation of designers to move the world to a better, more sustainable future.”


Rowan Conway, RSA Director of Innovation & Development, said:

“The RDIs are far more than just letters after a name from an industry-body.

“They are a key part of the RSA’s mission to improve society through ideas and action, and specifically for the RSA’s fellows in industry to democratically recognise people who’ve proven how design can improve society.

“Alison, Mike and Morag share a demonstrable driving desire to innovate, educate and inspire others through design, and this year all share a common background in outstanding contribution to creating great public places and spaces.

And with the government preparing its industrial strategy for Britain’s future, Tristram’s industry experience at Arup will help sell great British design across the globe.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how they contribute even further.”


Ben Griffin, Design Lead Specialist at Innovate UK, the RDI sponsor, added:

“This year, through its "Design Foundations" pilot programme, Innovate UK has funded 90 businesses, across a broad range of sectors, to engage with the UK's world-class creative industries and carry out early-stage design studies – gathering human insight, generating propositions, validating their thinking and communicating the value of their ideas more effectively to investors and customers.

“Today, we're delighted to be partnering with the RSA to celebrate the outstanding contributions of the Royal Designers for Industry, the exciting potential of the Student Design Award winners and to further the discourse around design’s role in unlocking the potential of UK industry.”

During the presentations at this event the RSA Bicentenary Medal 2017 will be awarded to Mary Mullin in recognition of her ‘advocacy, encouragement and promotion of design to benefit society across education and industry’.


For additional information on the 2017 RDIs please see the attached documentation or contact [email protected]

For press queries including interview bids, please contact Ash Singleton, [email protected], 07799 737 970.


  • 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 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 150 RDIs and 54 Honorary RDIs (non-UK citizens). Members include Terence Conran, Jonathan Ive, James Dyson, Vivienne Westwood, and Thomas Heatherwick.
  • The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry was formed as a group of RDIs in 1938 and are a central to the RSA Design Association. Together with the alumni of the RSA Student Design Awards, they are an elite network of designers who have been awarded by the RSA. Many of these designers work with the RSA on a wide range of initiatives; from judging in the RSA Student Design Awards scheme to inspiring students at the Family of RSA Academies.
  • The RSA Bicentenary Medal was instituted in 1954 to commemorate the founding of the RSA over two hundred years earlier, and has been awarded annually to a variety of individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of design in industry and society. Today the medal is awarded to someone who has ‘used design to great effect as an instrument of civic innovation.’

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