Why more female designers will move the world of design forward

King Living

Historically women have been under-represented in design fields.

One recent report found the UK’s design workforce is 78% male and 22% female, with only 5% of design workers in product and industrial design being women1. It is a similar story around the globe. Reports show 19% of working industrial designers in the US2 are women, and in Australia only 11% of Creative Directors in the graphic design sector are women3.

These statistics highlight the need to encourage a more diverse and equal representation within the industry.

KING is fortunate to partner with many incredible women working in various design fields, from Architects and Interior Designers to Photographers and Stylists.

The legacy of women in design at KING is seen across the team of in-house designers and craftspeople who are experts in their trade. These women are passionate creative leaders contributing to the culture and success of KING every day.

Seeing the number of women in design increase benefits all of society. Diversity of perspectives creates fresh ideas and moves the world of design continually forward, resulting in beautiful designs that everyone can experience.

This sentiment particularly rings true with industrial design. This sector covers so many products used every day, whether that be furniture, tech products, or kitchen appliances.

Well-designed products enhance our lives, and the best designs are often the most universal.

Universal design philosophy

he virtue of universal design is about accommodating most people’s needs through carefully considered design choices. The best designs will be as accessible as possible to everyone regardless of gender, age, size, abilities, or any other defining aspects. Universal designs are quite simply the best designs.

As The Studio* Collaborative’s Melinda Huuk explains, good design will take diversity into account.

“Everybody works in a different way. Most businesses have a responsibility to be flexible and inclusive of people with specific needs.” she says.

Women, men, and every individual person will all judge designs differently. When it comes to designers, this will produce a variety of results. If products should be universally designed to benefit both genders as well as everyone’s unique requirements, bringing as many perspectives as possible to the design process can only be positive.

Principal Architect of SSD Studio, Sophie Solomon believes in designing spaces to celebrate and nurture emotions and make a difference to daily life.

“It is a process of imagining how the space will be used – and every aspect of the space needs to celebrate emotions. Design is about how to enhance that daily process.”

Bringing women's unique perspective to the design process enables their sensibilities to form part of the product from start to finish. The result is an extra layer of consideration directly from a group who are end-users of the product.

Inclusive design through modularity

ne way KING works towards universality in design is through modularity. Sofa designs like Jasper and Delta best represent this philosophy.

Modularity is unmatched in providing customisable aspects tailored to an individual's comfort levels, body type, and desired use.

“Comfort is such a subjective and personal thing. Modular furniture affords us the flexibility to adjust and reconfigure to suit our body ergonomics, lifestyles and home environments, all of which can change and evolve over time.” – KING Design Studio

These options ultimately lead to a better experience for the end-user, which is the intent behind anything created by an industrial designer – improving people’s lives through well-considered and well-executed design.

Female-led design


he design of one of KING’s most loved dining tables, Issho, was led by in-house Designer Alinta Lim. Meaning “together” in Japanese, Issho is a fitting name for the perfect place to gather with family and friends.

“Issho started out purely as a form exercise, seeing how repetitions of this singular sculpted piece could come together harmoniously to create a full pedestal volume.” explains Alinta. “Or how rotating them open completely changes the feel of the table with this dynamic spatial tension between the angled pieces.”

Defined by a series of curved pillars forming a dynamic base, Issho can shift from an open to closed design. This modularity is what led to the creation of more iterations in the Issho Collection.

“We didn’t plan to have so many pieces, but with the base pieces being modular it made a lot of sense to reconfigure it into different sizes and table shapes.” explains Alinta. “The coffee and side tables were perhaps the most surprising iterations. Each base set of legs is made of a single dining leg cut in half. They ended up being some of the most unique pieces, with the shapes being so organic and imperfect in a non-symmetrical sense.”

For Alinta, more diversity in leading design roles is the way forward.

“Having more female designers in leading roles, and representation for all types of people, will foster more diverse and empathetic design thinking which benefits everyone.”

Paving the way forward 

With such a large disparity in the number of women and men working in the design field, there is still much work to close this distance. Women need to meet other female role models who inspire them to break through the glass ceiling and go in any direction they desire.

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had both female and male mentors who have been very encouraging and led me to believe that women can excel at all levels in Design. However, it would be remiss to say gender disparity in design teams isn’t noticeable.” explains Alinta.

Deciding on whether a career or role is appropriate because of gender could mean letting an opportunity pass you by – which isn’t beneficial for the individual or society as a whole. It is the diversity of perspective from all the talented women and men who contribute to each design field that is helping us move forward.

"I'd like to give a big shout-out to the incredible women who use their gifts of intuition, logic, strength, and decisiveness to move us all forward and promote equality and change. And to the great men who stand side-by-side with women as true equals. Together we are helping drive changes that benefit all of our society." Anna Carrabs, KING CEO

Embracing true diversity benefits all of society, and for KING, different perspectives drive our innovations forward and push the boundaries of what our furniture designs can achieve.

A balance of perspectives leads to a balanced, universal design.