In this conceptual paper we review the strategic use of design within the cultural industries. In order to do this we reference a number of bodies of theory, for example organisational strategy, services’ and experiential services’ design, culture and cultural industries’ production, all of which are relevant to the understanding of the design factors that contribute to strategic success in the cultural industries. The strategic use of design is an undeservedly neglected area of design and design management theory in any context, but is especially so in these sectors. This is regrettable given their importance to the economy and/or well-being of the societies in which they are found (Hesmondhalgh, 2006).
Following a discussion of how design may be used strategically in most industries, we use examples to develop an understanding of the role of design in various cultural sectors.