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Es Devlin courtesy of the artist and Ben Terrett

UAL talents Es Devlin OBE and Ben Terrett elected Royal Designers for Industry

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Published date 29 November 2018

Two UAL governors who are at the forefront of the UK creative industries have been elected Royal Designers for Industry – the highest honour that a UK designer can receive.

Superstar set designer, UAL Honorary Fellow and alumna of Central Saint Martins, Es Devlin; and architect of the Government digital service, designer and CEO at Public Digital, Ben Terrett, today joined the the RSA’s ranks of eminent designers to gain the distinction for ‘sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Only 200 designers can hold the title which is awarded annually by the RSA.

David Isaac, Chair of The Court of Governors, UAL commented:

“Through their unique vision and designs that enhance all of our lives, Ben Terrett and Es Devlin demonstrate why the world needs creativity. Today’s honours formally recognise the huge talent and impact of two of our governors on the creative industries and beyond. It is my privilege to work with Ben and Es on the UAL Board and on behalf of the entire UAL community I would like to offer our sincere congratulations on their appointments.”

Read about Es and Ben and their work 

MirrorMaze - an installation at Copeland Park 2016 Image courtesy of the artist Es Devlin

MirrorMaze – an installation at Copeland Park 2016 Image courtesy of the artist Es Devlin

Multi-award winning designer Es Devlin holds three Oliviers and an OBE for Services to Set and Stage Design. She is the creative vision behind world arena tours for some of the world’s biggest musical artists including The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Adele and Lady Gaga, in addition to designing three Louis Vuitton catwalk shows, two Olympic ceremonies: London’s closing ceremony in 2012 and Rio’s opening ceremony in 2016. Es created the interactive Fifth Lion sculpture ‘please feed the lions’ at Trafalgar Square for this year’s London Design Festival and she is designing the UK Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020. She became an Honorary Fellow of UAL in 2017.

“It’s such a vital and urgent time for designers from all fields to be meeting and collaborating, seeking collective solutions to the challenges we face nationally and globally. I’m honoured to be invited to join the conversation.” – Es Devlin


register to vote courtesy of

Register to vote courtesy of Government Digital Service

The first designer to receive the honour for Service Design, fellow industry award-winner Ben Terrett advises public sector organisations in more than 18 countries globally on how to adapt to the internet era. Ben was former deputy director of the Government Digital Service and Group Design Director who led the renewal of the Co-Op Group brand between 2015 and 2017. As well as being on the Board of Governors of UAL, he is a member of the HS2 Design Panel and an advisor to the London Design Festival. In 2017 he was inducted into the Design Week Hall of Fame. Other awards include the Design Museum’s Design of the Year and a D&AD Black Pencil.

“It’s an honour to become the first Royal Designer for Industry for Service Design. I am passionate about design education and I hope to inspire the next generation of designers just as the current RDIs have inspired me.” – Ben Terrett


Es Devlin set design for Beyonce Formation Tour 2016, photo courtesy of the artist

Es Devlin set design for Beyonce Formation Tour 2016, photo courtesy of the artist


Rowan Conway, Director of Innovation & Development at the RSA:

“These winners show that design is not just limited to the visual but is increasingly a critical part of modern business innovation and an area where UK Plc leads – which is why it forms a key part of the government’s industrial strategy.”

Co-op-Bag by North Design

Credit North Design, Co-Op group brand led by Ben Terrett

The ‘Royal Designers’ are responsible for designing the world around us, enriching our cultural heritage, driving innovation, inspiring creativity in others and improving our quality of life. The jet engine, Routemaster bus, iPhone, and Harry Potter film sets, among thousands of other things, have been created by them. Since it was introduced, recipients of the honour have included designers as diverse as Eric Gill, Barnes Wallis, Lucienne Day, Jonathan Ive, Richard Rogers, and Vivienne Westwood.

Follow Ben’s blog as UAL Governor

Follow Es Devlin on Instagram