The Design domain page discusses, among other things, the labor market, the problem-solving capacity of designers and trends such as inclusive design. Different theme's that pass by social design and sustainability. The Design domain covers a variety of disciplines: from illustration, graphic and spatial design to product design and fashion. Together with the domain Architecture Design falls under the broader design sector, see also the domain page Design.


Just like architecture, design is used to address, solve or investigate urgent problems in society. The so-called discipline social design is a concrete example of this. This phenomenon is certainly not new, but there is increasing social support for it and it also creates a growing interest in inclusive design. The field of designers is broadening, and crossovers between design and other sectors are happening more often.

In addition, the idea of ​​sustainability is widespread in the design sector: designers are increasingly experimenting with new, organic materials and are in line with the global pursuit of reuse and circularity. The versatility and boundlessness of design make it an extremely dynamic domain.

Introduction and key figures

Design is a versatile domain and has all kinds of intermediate forms and overlaps with other sectors – both within and outside the cultural field. Strict demarcation of the Design domain in the Culture Monitor is therefore impossible or undesirable, according to discussions with the sector and our own research into free data.

At the same time, design is policy-wise part of the broader design sector, which also includes architecture and digital culture, and of the cultural and creative industry. The Culture Monitor follows this classification. Based on the discussions held, the term 'design' was chosen instead of 'design', because 'design' is a broader concept that can encompass all developments within the field. Use of the term 'design' a more fluid approach to the domain is therefore beneficial.

The visualizations below contain data on the number of jobs in design as a cultural subsector, the number of designers in the entire labor market, subsidies for design from the Creative Industries Fund NL and the distribution of subsidies from the Creative Industries Fund per discipline. You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above each figure. In addition, on the domain page Design Overarching data can be found, for example, on the turnover of self-employed persons and design agencies. 

Job market


Source: CBS and Creative Industry Monitor

Subsidies Creative Industry Incentive Fund

€ x 1.000.000
€ x 1.000.000

Source: Creative Industries Fund NL

What else do we want to know about the Design domain?

The versatility and boundlessness of design make it an extremely dynamic domain, which logically complicates the monitoring of data within the Culture Monitor. For example, the current figures on the labor market - from the Creative Industry Monitor and CBS – not compatible due to the different scopes and data categories. In order to provide a comprehensive picture of the labor market in the design sector, for example, clear figures would be needed, which also extend to the other sectors in which design is active - such as trade, industry and healthcare. It would also be valuable to map the impact of the corona crisis on the design sector, as soon as relevant figures are available.

The conversations held also show that the infrastructure for the design field is inadequate in certain aspects: for example, there are few presentation places or institutions for design, and there is insufficient connection between clients and designers. The goal for future updates is to provide more (numerical) insight into this infrastructure, so that the weak points within the field become visible.

Want to know more about the Design domain?

View more data about the Design domain the dashboard of the Culture Monitor.

More literature about the Design domain can also be found in the knowledge base of the Boekman Foundation.


BNO (2020) 'The BNO and inclusivity'. On:, 18th of June.

CBS (2021)'Artists and workers in other creative professions, 2017/2019'. On:, 7th of June.

DDW (2018) 'Trends at #DDW17: The food formula of the future – upcycling, edible plastic and DIY vegetables'. On:, 5th of April.

Dijksterhuis, E. (2020a) 'Free your mind & your ass will follow'. On:, 6 August.

Dijksterhuis, E. (2020b) 'Design apart together'. In: Dutch designers Yearbook, 66-72. Amsterdam: BNO.

Junte, J. (2019a) 'Tech, bees and flowers dominate at the greenest Milan Design Week ever'. On:, 14th of April.

Junte, J. (2019b) 'Sustainability is the big winner at the Dutch Design Awards'. On:, 12th of June.

Junte, J. (2020) 'Nothing about us without us'. In: Dutch designers Yearbook, 32-41. Amsterdam: BNO.

Lange, P. de (2021) 'The Dutch eat the most meat substitutes of all Europeans'. On:, May 10. 

Leden, J. van der (2019) 'A social designer wants to change the world: interview with Tabo Goudswaard'. In: Boekman, jrg. 31, no. 120, p. 14-15.

Meulen, K. van der (2021) '“Creation and design can help solve social issues”: the role of the creative sector in sustainability'. In: Boekman, jrg. 33, no. 127, p. 16-20. 

Council for Culture (2018) Design for the future: a plea for creative reflection on social issues. The Hague: Council for Culture.

Rutten, P. et al. (2019) Creative Industry Monitor 2019: The Netherlands, top 10 cities, creative companies and professions. Hilversum: Media Perspectives Foundation. 

Rutten, P. et al. (2022) Creative Industry Monitor 2021: The Netherlands, Top 10 cities, Consequences of COVID-19. Hilversum: Media Perspectives Foundation. 

Creative Industry Incentive Fund (2021) 'Design regulations'. On:

Tromp, N. (2015) 'Wanted: social designers'. In: Crossover Works #5, 26-31. Amsterdam: Federation of Dutch Creative Industries.


In 2021 we spoke to the following people for the purpose of collecting information for the development of this domain page:

Accountability image

Artwork by Tomas Libertiny in exhibition Design by Nature in Museum de Fundatie / Photography: Lisa Maatjens