Mapping London’s Design Economy

The Design Council briefed us to create a large-scale poster that would make people stop and think at the V&A during the 2022 London Design Festival.

Design Council

A zoomed-in London map with bubbles shows the number of designers in each borough by size and the discipline by colour.

In the dynamic world of design, data becomes a compelling language.

That’s why the Design Council enlisted us to distil and transform insights from its Design Economy report into a visually striking poster for the 2022 London Design Festival.

The brief: create a large-format map of London’s unique design communities and showcase the impact of the capital’s design economy.

The final poster would be shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum but it also needed to seamlessly translate to social media. Other challenges included pulling out London-specific insights from a broader UK dataset, testing different ways of mapping boroughs and laying out multiple visualizations into a cohesive narrative.

Our iterative design process, including large-scale accessibility tests, ensured real-world impact. Sections of the poster were taped up around our studio for weeks, refining font sizes, colour scales and readability at a distance.

The visuals and narrative of the London Design Economy map catered to policy makers, making a case for investing in different design disciplines across the capital. It also engaged the broader design community – letting people in different disciplines find themselves in the data.

This collaboration lives on as a visual representation of London in the Design Council's broader Design Economy research.

The final poster for Design Council’s Mapping London’s Design Economy project. The primary visualization is on the left with two supporting mini visualizations on the right.
An image of three sketches with different devices from the sketch session for the Mapping London’s Design Economy project.
A picture of Beyond Words studio, with paper taped up to test the size of fonts and colour schemes for the final poster design.
An animated image showing six iterations of the Mapping London’s Design Economy poster. Each version visualizes designers and design disciplines in each London borough.
Evolution of the design
Final Mapping London’s Design Economy poster at the Victoria and Albert Museum during London Design Festival 2022, positioned on a stairwell.

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