CR Survey

The UK’s Chartered Society of Designers wants to create a system of professional certification for designers. Would you want to take part?

The Chartered Society of Designers has filed an application to the UK Government to approve a system of professional certification for designers. A much-needed step toward elevating design’s status? Or an expensive irrelevance?

As our sister title Design Week reported, the Chartered Society of Designers has applied to the UK’s Privy Council to allow it and other professional bodies to be entitled to assess and award designers with ‘CDes’ chartered status. Designers would then join the ranks of other ‘chartered’ professionals, such as accountants, surveyors and engineers.

How will it work? “To gain the CDes credential, designers would be assessed on their professionalism, skills, knowledge and creativity, the last of which would be gauged ‘much in the same way that degree courses manage to appraise creativity’, says CSD chief executive Frank Peters,” Design Week reports.

So, would the design profession in the UK benefit from such a scheme? Peters says that its aim is to raise the status of design as a profession. For graphic designers in particular this remains an issue – witness the recent furore over a Times article on the NHS 60th anniversary identity in which Tory MP Greg Hands stated “Surely adding two digits doesn’t need to be outsourced at all. Civil servants can do this themselves. Modern graphic design packages surely allow anyone with an average brain to design something as good as, or better than, what we see in front of us here.”

Graphic design is not accorded the respect that its practitioners believe it deserves, but would adding the letters CDes after your name solve this?


Some points for:

*Other professions are accorded status at least in part through a commitment to providing a level of service that is guaranteed by their chartered status. Graphic design could benefit similarly

*By acting now, designers can take responsibility into their own hands before the UK government does it for them. In a lengthy reply on Davidthedesigner’s blog, Peters raises this, pointing out that the Government has recently sought to licence estate agents and landlords: could designers be next?

*It will enhance the sense of community, bringing together a disparate occupation

*It will distance ‘proper’ designers from cut-price, ‘knock out a logo for £50’ merchants – graphic design will no longer be something that ‘anyone’ can do.


Some points against:

*Designers may not trust the assessment criteria and process

*Clients won’t care about it

*It will load extra cost onto already stretched businesses

*It will make design too exclusive. Some of the most interesting designers did not originally take formal design qualifications – Erik Spiekermann, for example, studied art history as his first degree, Michael Wolff was an architect, Adrian Shaughnessy describes himself as a ‘self-taught’ graphic designer. If CDes status insists on a graphic design degree will it exclude some of our more original thinkers?

*Being ‘certified’ is just not very cool. This latter point may sound frivolous but there are very many small design practices who will look on the idea of ‘certification’ with horror. Designers are not natural ‘joiners’ and may prefer to try to raise the status of what they do through a less prescriptive, formal approach.

UPDATE: In a lengthy contribution in the comments section, CSD chief executive Frank Peters has clarified some points. CDes would not be exclusive to CSD members, he says. Therefore it is not, as some have suggested, just a means of recruiting more members for the organisation. CDes will accredit a range of competencies, creativity being just one. Assessment would be done by “peer review of designers qualified in their field.” There will be no insistence on any degree in any discipline: “a set of competencies need to be demonstrated – how designers come about those competencies is up to them.”


Peters says in the Design Week piece that the Privy Council should reach a decision within three months.

What we want to know is what you think of the idea? Do you see the benefit of being a CDes?

  • The majority of designers who’ll love this stupid idea will be awful designers.

  • I think it’s a wonderful idea! Design is a profession, and should be treated so. A good designer may have studied hard and will have certainly worked hard to have a good career, to have a strong portfolio, to have a true understanding of design, no matter which media or market the designer may be working in. A lot of (lesser talented and less hard working people) will frequently call themselves designers, making a bit of cash on the side of their day job, working for low rates, etc etc, we all see it all the time.

    We have a great heritage of design in the UK, let’s not cheapen it, let’s respect our talented designers.

  • Tom

    I feel that design has enough of an elitist feel already without officially separating designers into ‘professional’ and ‘everyone else who is rubbish’.

    While it might be nice to say youre an official XYZ, I think it could put off a lot of budding designers.

  • MAN

    I think it’s an interesting proposition. As a designer from an ethnic minority background, I found many people in my community follow my progress from drawing at school to studying the subject at university level with a level of cynicism and curiosity. Having graduated and entered the professional world, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t just a prejudice or stereotype upheld my one specific community, but by the nation at large.

    I don’t believe adding two letters to the end of your name like some kind of honourary title would make much difference, and in all honesty, a BA Hons sounds far more prestiguous than CDes does, that sounds like some new sort of CD Rom!

    You’re essentially trying to solve the issue by re-labelling the problem. Many designers do not work professionally in their practise, whether in a studio or as an independent – and this in my humble opinion, falls in the hands of the establishments that hold the responsibility for nurturing adolsescent potential into professional talent. Many universities and colleges concentrate on the designer honing an aesthetic style of their own and an awareness of the aesthetic world, with very little proportionate weight in the cirriculum being dedicated to good, solid business practise.

    The reputation of designers and their skill can only be solved by training our designers to better collaborate with the working world – we have a responsibility as visual communicators to do a job – to communicate the message of our client in a visual vocabluary, and we should be fluent enough to determine which dialectal tone will work best.

    I hope the decision does not go ahead as all it means is a massive hassle for those of us working to a professional standard that we should be in order to sift out and shake up a minority who have been skating on thin ice. Save us the examinations! That’s what school and university was for!!!!

    Much love.

  • Jin

    It’s one of the most ridiculous idea!!
    I don’t like to categorize or grade the creative works…
    If we need certification for designers, we would need them for artists too!!

  • Tom

    Did I not become a “Professional Designer” when I spent £15,000 going through University?

    If a degree, substantial experience in the industry and a portfolio showing your ability doesn’t cut it for idiots like Greg Hands then I doubt a couple of letters after our name would help.

    Incidentally, just how much would WE (the designer) be paying for to have each digit of CDes after our name?

  • This wouldn’t be for everyone. As an information designer the additional qualification of CDes would probably help me in a world of clients who need to justify every decision and leave no room for risk.

    For those of us in the more creative end of the industry this probably wont make the slightest bit of difference to where the day to day client relationship is based on a more subjective set of criteria.

    Having said all of that, the public misconceptions wont be changed by a new qualification, we need to be better at explaining our process to the wider world.

    And that doesn’t mean reactionary blog articles about some MP’s off the cuff remarks.

  • An interesting idea, but I feel it was probably not a designer that came up with it. Professional designer is an oxymoron. A designer questions things, the way we leaf our lives, a professional follows prescribed rules and conventions, and maintains the status quo (great rock anthems aside). And I know who I would like to be on my team – designers are more than mere professionals.

  • Just Some Guy

    I wouldn’t join any club that accepts people like me as members.

    Groucho Marx

  • Design is such an open word, with many different meanings to many different people. There are an array of courses/professions/etc related to the word ‘Design’. To actually create a professional title for Design would segregate many areas linking to this and I’m sure lots of people would be left out.

    There are many ways to excel in areas of Design, without having to have that specific title, for which people would probably say ‘Oh, they’re probably better that the other guy I was looking at for this job!’

    I just think Design cannot be limited in this way and that it is far too huge an area to try and cover with one word – which to many can seem vague (especially those who are not designers!).

  • Jo Bird

    I can see where the idea is stemming from but to me this just seems to go against everything that creativity is about. It seems to me that this idea would just restrict and limit the industry. I agree with Tom (above), your portfolio should be what really matters to a client.

    To me, this just seems as if it would make things even harder for new designers who wish to break into the industry. Afterall, there is a huge amount of talent out there which has yet to be discovered, why put a limit on it?

  • In almost every way, I think it’s a great idea and I would jump at the chance to join such a scheme. All your points for and against are valid, but where money is concerned, those are easily dispelled — certified designers can simply raise rates, the way that lawyers and accountants and architects do. Building a “pay wall” around the industry is one way to enhance professional prestige, which is what we’re aiming for, isn’t it?

    I agree that we should always take the opportunity to welcome designers with an informal education or background. To accommodate this, we’d likely need to include some sort of employer recommendation or qualitative evaluation to bolster the application. A specific degree wouldn’t be an iron-clad requirement, because, let’s face it, no one’s life is at stake. (but really, how much do doctors, lawyers, etc. really learn prior to age 21? They spent just as much time faffing about in Uni as the rest of us.)

    For assessment, we’d need at least two people making the decision, so the applicant doesn’t fall victim to the political whim of a “judge”.

  • forev

    I’m too busy designing to work on some silly certificate.

  • Evan

    As someone from a non-design degree (computer engineering) who makes a very good living as a freelance designer, I say this is bullocks. With accounting, for example, you have to pass quantifiable tests (knowing varying tax laws, etc). Creativity can’t be measured. There are better designers out there in every possible function of my job who have never even attended A-levels/high school. They are just naturally good in some unfathomable, unmeasurable way. And no test will say otherwise.

    As to the argument that cut rate £50 designers are stealing your business? If your work is no better, than they should. Quality design gets the rates it deserves (ok, 8 out of 10 times but still).

  • ‘Honest’ Jon Greer – traveling artworker

    Im really worried I wont pass the test. Ill have to roam the county with a folding table and a MacBook (they’ll never let me keep my MacBook pro) doing leaflets for handouts – ‘please sir may I sleep in your barn, ill rebrand your site in return’.
    They can stuff it up there pipes, Im nothing like an estate agent or a chartered accountant – how will they measure my ability – sorry Mr Greer you’ve failed – the rules state, ‘Red and Green should never been seen’.

    Sorry for the rant – Im bitter because I missed out on the Research Studio Calender…

  • Tom

    I imagine that the only benefit to having “CDes” appended to my name would be to reassure clueless civil servants/chief executives that they aren’t crawling in the dark. How could it possibly be an indicator of quality?

    Anyway, being “certified” implies some form of rationale. You can’t rationalise good/bad design, it’s subjective. Think how many terrible graduate designers are out there — and now think how many mathematics graduates are bad at maths.

  • it doesn’t take a genius to know what is good and bad design, therefore we can all spot a really professional graphic designer from lets say the average joe on the street who has paint shop pro and attempts to create a logo for there best friends garage.

  • CrossLittleUndergrad.

    Never before have I felt so enraged by someone putting down Graphic Design as a profession. Greg Hands’ comments appear to be nothing more than a brash, unintelligent, pretentious failure to understand what it means to be a designer, and a good designer at that. As a student currently studying for my degree, I feel alarmed at how little ‘non-design people’ understand of the profession and the importance it has in our society. Greg Hands clearly seems to think that inside every Mac equipped with Photoshop, Illustrator etc. there is a tiny fairy that magically churns out a logo at the click of a mouse, and that graphic designers just pretend to be working while the magic fairy ‘does it’s thing’. If Greg Hands had any idea of how graphic design works he would feel very stupid, and hopefully crawl into a hole somewhere. ‘Anyone with an average brain’?? Is he serious?! Why is creativity still deemed to fall under the radar when determining so-called ‘Intelligence’? The sheer ignorance of people like Greg Hands makes me very concerned indeed.

  • Sherie

    Hate this idea. I’m not a degree graduate – I did a HND back in 1996. I have never had a problem getting work on the basis that my portfolio holds it’s own.
    Isn’t that how we should get our work – on the merit or our hard work and talent – rather than on the basis that we hold some academic qualification?

  • alexander

    i hate to sound paranoid but, politics doesn’t seem to be the creative industries strongest arm and nor should it be…so this system would require desk jockeys to intervene therefore remove a percentage of the democratic power of assessment from the creatives within the design community that the system should be serving serve.

    Although i agree good designers should be given the means to identify themselves amidst the shoals of god awful amateurs and regain the fair wage and respect they deserve, this is probably not going to be the way to do it.

    as mentioned above, professionalism is a clear cut set of rules to abide by and maintain…i do not wish to ever see the design community or designers pegged to such a black and white scenario.

  • The word professional is very important. Are we saying that just because a designer is a certified professional the work they produce is automatically superior? I’d argue that good designers (those that work for the ‘best’ firms and consistently produce the ‘best’ work for the ‘best’ clients) are professional anyway, they need to be. As with any profession, you’ll always get good and bad. I’m sure there are plenty of dodgy chartered accountants, surveyors and engineers…

  • In all the years I paid up to be a member of the chartered society of designers it made not the blindest bit of difference as to whether a client used me or not. I’ve been through eight years of design education, foundation course, three year degree course and three year post-graduate course and I have to say I’ve probably taught myself far more since leaving education than I ever did whilst in education. And Sherie, one of the best designers I ever came across also ‘only’ had an HND. So I don’t think that educated designers are necessarily better. Face it, what we do is for some businesses very trivial and not worth spending money on over paying for a good lawyer or accountant. I think the CSD are now so irrelevant and have so few members that this is a desperate attempt to force us all to join and pay up the membership fees.

  • Rob

    No thanks.

  • The problem is most people outside of graphic design do not understand the profession and what goes into the work produced. Designers need some way of helping people to understand what they do and the benefits of it. It is a bit of an oxymoron, design needs professionalism and accreditation. But how can you measure or label it properly? I see both sides.

    I wonder what the clients would think?

  • honestly!

    How dare the Chartered Society of Designers feel that they can go to the government and suggest this on our behalf. I don’t know even one designer that belongs to this group. This is surely just a way to make money out of us.

    I have always thought of those accredited logos for marketeers, accountants and others are just a way of making yourself look important.

    I didn’t spend fours years training and x number of years working in the industry in order to jump another hurdle to get an accreditation that no one will know about.

    As people have already pointed out, this is v. uncool!

  • I would be reassured that I was tendering against professionally qualified designers – who understood typography, colour, print process, sustainable methods etc., and not some enthusiast that has a copy of paint box on their pc and shares his affection for Comic Sans with the decision maker. It’s time that designers became accountable. We’re creative, we’re not artists.

  • This is just a membership drive by the CSD. For clients and designers who want this kind of crutch there’s already plenty available – qualifications, professional bodies, awards, annuals.

  • it wouldnt make a dickybird of difference if the price is right

  • Why do we need even more bloody organisations?
    We run a design agency in Newcastle and employ 8 people, we could be a member of all of the following:
    All organisations per annum
    Design Business Association, £1040 +vat (
    adesign (a local design organisation) £480 +VAT
    nepa (a local design organisation) £100+vat
    D&AD £100 per entry
    Roses Design Awards £88 VAT for you first entry £62 + VAT for each additional entries
    Countless more as we all know,,,
    Or… we could spend the considerable money on some self promotion to get us some more work. What would you do?
    Lil Pete

  • It could help regularizing prices.

    But who will give this certificate???
    Based on what criteria?
    Specially now with so many cross-disciplines.

    It’s too subjective to be certificated I think.

  • Strength in numbers. An ethical stance. Shared best practice. Not pitching for free (or pitching at all). Client education.

    As members of the DBA we find these issues highly relevant – Perhaps the CSD could reinforce these values and ideas – what’s not to embrace?

  • Drew

    As somebody qualified in both marketing and design, I’m led by what my customers think. Would chartered status help them to make a decision, or change their perception of my ability?

    Well in all honesty, this hasn’t worked for my marketing expertise (I’m a chartered marketer) so I see no reason why it would make a difference for my design ability.

    What helps them make a decision is meeting me and seeing results from my previous jobs. The rest is up to whether I have a good relationship with my clients, the letters after my name are for my own vanity.

  • Dan

    Im not so sure, I only care about the benefits of sure an idea and im finding it hard to find any. I didn’t take a degree, I did a HND in Multimedia Design, of which only 40% was design based and the other 60% implementation. I found my feet in design from drawing pictures from the age of 3 all day every day, the rest was on the job learning and what I did at uni. Design and creativity cannot be tought, the idea of people going through uni and having there forehead stamped as leave with certified brilliant on it – worries me. Like driving a car, the real learning cure starts when you have passed your tests.

    I do see both sides, but short of TV advertising – “ripped of by your last designer?” – “Next time look out for CDes on there business card” Im not sure anyone will care or even know to look for it.

    And anyway, who gets to design the certificate?

  • Exactly! “Design” is too subjective to be certified, I agree

    However, I feel the interior design profession should be regulated as architects are… There are far too many decorators who call themselves designers yet haven’t a clue on the more technical matters ie… building/ construction etc…

  • katie

    I agree with Pete. Looking at other professional certifications the annual cost to maintain membership is in the region of £500 per year per member. This does not include the cost of obtaining the certificate, just the ongoing annual fee after the certificate is achieved. If all desginers were to achive professional status industry creative teams would be shelling out thousands each year for a certification with no history or reputation.

  • Joanna

    It would be good to think that this would improve the overall standard of design but unfortunately I think many potential clients would expect a certified designer to be more expensive and so opt for a “cheaper” uncertified option.

  • Pffft, this is a bit like erecting a wind break to counteract the effects of a tsunami. Design used to be a respected profession. It grew out of the print trade and the compositing room where you absolutely had to have years of apprenticeship before you were a capable typesetter.

    Even in the phototypesetting era it was still a respectable profession. It was respectable because there was a skills divide (where the respect dwelt) between the client’s field of expertise and the designer’s.

    Now though, you can all the accreditation after your name you like, I believe it will only serve to choke you. EG: Every time a difficult client absolutely demands changes that are against what you know to be good, rigorous design practice, you will live in fear of a complaint being lodged that you have behaved unreasonably in resisting the client’s requests, and losing your professional accreditation as a result.

    This is an absolute minefield and I don’t think for one minute it will protect any individual or enhance the profession. On the contrary it will plunge the whole industry into bureaucratic mayhem.

  • A ridiculous idea, which on the face of it appears only to benefit the CSD. What exactly is the criteria for testing whether a designer is suitable for creditation? Who sets the standards and who will be judging? This diverts attention from more pressing issues.

    On the one hand, the design industry wants to be taken seriously by clients, while on the other refuses to pay its interns… It seems a tad rich to complain about how much clients pay us when for the large part we haven’t even got our own house in order.

    Many design magazines coo over nice work and swap superficial, trite, subjective opinion, but generally avoid serious debate on meaningful issues… We’re generally incapable of thoughtful analysis of our own practice, yet we want clients to take us seriously and treat us as serious professionals?

    Designers often produce work which speaks mainly to other designers yet fail to engage with the outside world in a way the public understands, but we ask for recognition… Most people don’t even know what ‘graphic design’ is, how will a CDes credential change that?

    Whether a designer is CDes accredited or not, it wont stop people asking us to create a 40-page brochure for £50. How does a designer with a CDes credential prevent Barry from Deepcar wanting to run the logo idea by his 13 year old daughter who ‘has a knack for art’? How does a CDes credential stop Pete from asking me why his new company name, identity and website can’t be identical to his main competitor?

    Even if accreditation were of any real benefit, is it fair to exclude the likes of Ian Anderson, Adrian Shaugnessy and any number of talented self-taught designers on the basis they don’t have a design degree? Of course, I’m sure they wont shed many tears at being left out of The Chartered Society of Designers’ new club.

  • Mike

    What a terrible idea!

    How can such a subjective and constantly evolving field as design be certified. I cannot state enough how much I disagree with such an idea. NO NO NO!

  • I like the idea of the industry pulling together, having a collective voice and ensuring a level of quality for clients in return for a slightly more standardised price… But, I can see this has potential to turn into just another expensive marketing strategy like entering awards.

  • Pete

    Waste of time, just a way for the Chartered Society of Designers to gain some money from people who could do without the extra expense.

    Clients won’t care about the CDes after your name as they don’t about a BA(Hons), decisions will still be made on whether they like your previous work or not, and obviously cost. ‘Designers’ producing logos for £50 will still get work from people who do not value good design.

  • Hard Candy

    I’m all for it.

    Speaking as a client as well as a designer, there’s always a slight sense of dread when you commission a designer to work for you that you haven’t worked with before. Are they a seasoned professional or are they self taught and operating from their bedroom? How disciplined are they; how well are they going to stick to brief/schedule; how sensitive are they going to be to my needs; how much can I trust this person? That’s different to looking at their portfolio of work – good design ideas are easy to spot, the rest of the package is much harder.

    At the moment all I have to go on is
    a) what clients have they worked for in the past
    b) do they have any awards (in which case I probably can’t afford them)
    c) do they dress/look/talk/act like a professional

    None of these are particularly representative but it gives me a general picture and accreditation would definitely help me out. So like it or not, letters after their name WILL make a difference to whether I’m going to commission that person or not.

  • It’s a great idea – but only if they get the criteria right and the quality work shines through…

    Bad, unconsidered design is everywhere… I pains me to hear of clients are getting ripped off because they are trusting designers who cannot perform at a highly professional level.

    A system like this will help prevent anyone with a computer and a dodgy copy of creative suite claiming they are a “Design Professional” whilst setting their letterhead in word and handing out their vista print business cards… A system like this will help the design industry to guide the general public who haven’t got a clue about buying design or marketing. In the same way the NICEIC helps us find a qualified electrician or how CORGI helps us find someone to fix our gas boiler…

    It’s what the industry has needed for ages.

  • Designers who are “qualified” wouldn’t mind if they were to get “chartered”, that is to say it won’t require any extra cost. If the gov needs to charge for qualifications, then it’s just another way to shamelessly raise money for their inadequacy.

    But I wonder, since a design cannot be right or wrong, how would they judge how “qualified” a designer is? What if the design is crap to the judges but works in real life? Is there a formula? Would they qualify artist next?

  • When we become professional we can start working on briefs like this…

    It’s hard to say exactly how problems like that can be solved, but better educating the general public/business owners about the value of good design would definitely be a great start. A chartered institute could be a successful way to do this.

  • Mark, I see the point of the reference to CORGI, NICEIC, but the design industry is different. Are clients going to pay more for a design just because the designer happens to be accredited? I would argue not.

    Besides, despite CORGI, NICEIC, Guild of Master Craftsmen, City & Guilds and whoever else you care to mention there are still cowboys out there. While I appreciate they can be useful guides, it doesn’t always work that way in practice: I have first-hand experience of using a CORGI registered installer making a complete hash of the job.

    A shoddy designer can apply the CDes logo to their promotional material just as a shoddy painter can apply the Guild of Master Crafstmen logo to his, or just make up a fake guild or regulatory body. It happens all the time.

  • There are some factual inconsistencies in the reporting of this issue – so just to dispel or answer points made in the string thus far:

    Also designers will need to work in collaboration with other professions in the future – they will need to stand alongside those professions as equals in the eyes of clients.

    Designers will oversee and implement the accreditation – so they should trust themselves.

    Client’s don’t care now from the blogs and articles I read plus the argument is the portfolio speaks volumes – so there is no additional negative.

    It will only cost if designers wish to do it – it is their choice – and as the argument made is that it makes no difference then why would anyone believing that spend to achieve it. As it will not be compulsory, unlike any government licensing schemes, it is not a negative – it is a choice.

    There is no insistence on any degrees for any design discipline – a set of competencies need to be demonstrated – how designers come about those competencies is up to them. It is very inclusive.

    Stay cool – rely on the portfolio – there is no compulsion to achieve CDes – remain none joiners. However, the Society believes that designers are essential in helping design a better world and have a role to play that means joining in – the Design Council recognise this in promoting co-design heavily and we share their view on this. Most designers I meet want to ‘join the other’ in terms of gaining respect and a better living standard for the effort, time and resource they invest in their career.


    Designers themselves separate into ‘professional’ and ‘rubbish’. They do it continually in commenting on other designers work. It is not elitist to be good at something.

    Applying standards will not put off anyone who wants to be a designer – I think those who want to be designers already go through major hurdles. CDes is aimed at removing some of those hurdles they face from business.

    Many people in industry argue these days that BA is not that credible – and especially in our sector where design is often seen as an easy subject. CDes can help dispel that myth.

    Not solving the problem by re-labelling. Trying to solve it by example – in that CDes will require professional practice – and whether a designer wished to be CDes or not – there will be a set of standards in place to illustrate to clients and designers what is required of a professional – these are universal requirements across all professions and totally understood in society.

    School and university only prepare professionals – continual development is the only way a professional can offer the service society is entitled to having invested in their education.

    CDes is not about grading creativity. It is but a small element of the professional process. If creativity cannot be delivered professionally, it remains in the realms of art and accrediting art is the remit of totalitarian regimes. Designers are not artists and should they wish to be they should be honest and turn to art and leave design to designers.

    Explaining what we do requires a common language – not the language of the designer or the language of business – but a common understanding. CDes provides a platform for this with an innovative framework of competencies determining the Designer rather Design itself.

    The Society developed the initiative and the Society consists of designers and therefore it has been developed by designers and as such addresses issues and concerns that have been noted over many decades.

    Designers do follow prescribed rules and conventions – they may not wish to always admit it or realise it – but how many have a starting point other than what has gone before or what they have done in the past. Let alone following rules and conventions in terms of process to implement creativity.

    Designers deserve to be more than mere professionals – but the problem appears to be that designers wish to receive the respect granted to other professionals. Achieve this and perhaps – just perhaps – we can be more.

    This initiative actually encompasses the diversity of design. The sector is fragmented into a myriad of disciplines – and will be more so in the future. There is strength in numbers. We are all designers, fashion, graphic, interiors, product, etc and we can all gain from each other far more than we can lose – and a common understanding of process will help us collaborate and provide a better proposition to business.

    If only the portfolio matter – then it rather excludes those who are starting out. See earlier comments. A portfolio is not enough in itself – you need to know how you achieved it and explain that to a client. Otherwise it is a subjective decision by the client – so designers cannot keep blaming the client if they subjectively don’t like the colour, font, shape, image, etc. Design is about putting order over chaos – exploiting creativity. It is not art.

    Assessing would be by peer review of designers qualified in their field. Hence it will be accredited by other membership bodies specific to a design discipline. It cannot be used as a fee regime as this would be restrictive practice – but it would offer comparatives.

    CDes will accredit a range of competencies. Creativity is one element but with multiple facets – generating creativity, managing it, exploiting it, etc. Everyone is capable of being creative to some degree – most people combine colours and shapes when they dress or decorate their house or plan their garden – even produce a leaflet off screen. They may do it well – they may do it badly. I bet most designers will be able to make a judgement! So it is measurable. CDes will provide the tools to measure it and award accordingly – in a rather more structured and justifiable manner than an opinion.

    Design is not subjective – it is objective. If it was subjective then all design would be good design as it would have been determined by someone subjectively. Greg Hands was being subjective and has been criticised for being so – with objective arguments by designers.

    CDes is not proposed by the Society as exclusive to CSD members and so it is not a membership recruitment vehicle. The Society proposes in its application that any design body in any design sector should be able to award this status thus ensuring it is relevant and universally accepted.

    CSD has a Royal Charter and its remit is to promote the profession – not itself. Whilst we would dearly like to have all designers as members – not least because the fees would be minimal and the influence great – our efforts have to be for all designers, studying or practicing, members or not, UK or oversees – that is what a professional body is as opposed to a trade or membership body.

    Design and creativity is at the heart of teaching – if it cannot be taught why are we cheating on kids (some 20,000 pa) who are paying £3k pa to study? I am not sure we can dismiss the history of design education (short in this country only since 1827) so readily.

    Decorator to Interior Designers = DTP to Graphic Designers. We are all designers.

    This initiative will not provide a solution to all the problems designers experience – it is aimed at providing a set of tangibles which are understood in business that allow us to explain what we do, why we do it, how we do it and why it is worth something.

    Last word goes to the only client who appears to have commented – it will help them out! That’s what designers are there to do I thought.

  • I agree that us Graphic Designers don’t get the same recognition and high-regard as people of other professions do. Clients constantly butcher much of what is aesthetically pleasing and optimally functional out of our initial designs. True it is frustrating that a designer’s professional knowledge and advice on a creative matter often isn’t taken as seriously as the consultation of a doctor or lawyer. However, I don’t think adding more letters after our names is the road to go done to resolve this issue. One degree is more than enough. And besides, think how much ink we’d save on our business cards!

    Seriously though, I’m glad that someone is trying to address the issue… but I think they need to be more creative about the proposed solution to this.

  • Andy

    This is an interesting prospect, but I firmly refuse to jump down from the fence just yet – the detail certainly needs to be fleshed out.

    The key question of course is how to judge the creative element, objectively.

    As a non-design graduate I would be concerned about whether this process might exclude me because of a lack of formal training.

    However if we put the creative aspect aside for a moment, there are other benefits under the guise of professionalism and skills. Having designers learn a standardised briefing document framework to ensure all client requirements are picked up, or encouraging designers to effectively manage client projects are two examples – I am aware Project Management frameworks and qualifications already exist elsewhere, but it would motivate designers to engage with these or for the industry to create its own interpretations.

    For now, I like my perch and will take in the view.

  • Alex, why is the design industry different to any other industry?

    Part of the problem is the fact that we as designers think we are different when we are not. The whole industry needs to get its feet on the ground, get real and stop being so up itself. We are merely providing a professional service to our clients who have come to us for help… just like an Electrician…

    If our clients looked after their design/marketing side in the same way it looked after it’s accountancy we would gain a lot more respect… We need to make design a serious profession to industry outsiders and if an accreditation helps this, and helps our clients make informed decisions about our industry – then it can only be a good thing.

    And, it’s not about price, it’s just a helpful-guide-of-good-practice-for-our-clients… There is no way on earth I would trust someone who wasn’t CORGI registered to fix my boiler…

  • Matt


  • steve

    I agree with Mark above.

    Adding to his comment I would suggest that the notion that your portfolio should speak for yourself is why designers get so little respect. That is extremely arrogant and narrow minded and dare I say unprofessional. It is not about how creative you are it is how good you are at translating a brief into a viable solution based on credible information and research. And much more than that it is about professional engagement with other professionals across all sectors and disciplines. Take the CIM for instance are these not our clients? They have CDP at the core of their profession why shouldn’t we after all it isn’t compulsory?

    A degree is only the start of your training, the VERY start, and to assume that leaving a degree course makes you a professional is absurd, ignorant and damaging to the profession if this view is nurtured.

    It is for everyone? No. We are all individuals and each to their own. Should there be a programme like this? Yes of course there should. To raise awareness of best professional practice within our industry for all, subscribers to the programme or not. Remember as well that, from the news I read, it is not for the CSD they are the applying on behalf of the industry supported by a wide number of bodies who all want this for their members. Therefore is not not really a public debate if members of organisations want it, it is up to them surely. What right do we have to challenge what they get for their membership. None.
    Professional bodies are at the core of every profession that is taken seriously and therefore member or not we should embrace this.

    The problem is that the design industry thinks it owns ‘creativity’ and it doesn’t. Humans are creative whatever they do. The problem is not the proposal it self but the arrogance of an often ridiculed profession.

    Do you get creative accountants? Yes they are the best in their profession. Creative lawyers? Yes they are the best you can their profession. You cant break the rules successfully without knowing the rules. programmes like this help challenge, embrace and share professional practice and knowledge and that can only be a good thing. Creativity is subjective and professionalism could be if not clearly defined. It is not about assessing how good you are as a designer (whatever you discipline) its about on going professional development, for the individuals and industry as a whole.

  • Kabukiman

    Next they, (what appears to be the establishment) will be expecting us (the free thinking designers) to wear grey suits and ties to work. Surely this idea didn’t come from someone creative.

  • Chris Matthews

    I’m not sure what the answer is.

    I’d like to know what designers thought about a trade union? Perhaps if we all chip in, maybe we can stop free pitching, lobby for a better understanding of the design process and be able to back each other up if one of us gets threatened with legal action by awful clients?

    Tony Pritchard posted something similar recently, please see:

  • Chris Matthews

    I’m not sure what the answer is.

    I’d like to know what designers thought about a trade union? Perhaps if we all chip in, maybe we can stop free pitching, lobby for a better understanding of the design process and be able to back each other up if one of us gets threatened with legal action by awful clients?

    Tony Pritchard posted something similar recently, please see:

  • Honestly!

    A recruitment drive from an organisation which only represents “3000 designers from 34 countries” – 3000 – that’s nothing no wonder they have come up with this rubbish?!

  • The last thing we need is a plethora of representatives. We could do with one voice.The old SIAD was the main body representative of designers. Unfortunately even with a name change to the CSD they couldn’t retain the membership. The downward spiral in membership means the Society spends the vast majority of its income paying for its own staff and premises and barely anything is left for the benefit of members. The staff should have cut costs — including the HUGE pay of the chief executive — as soon as they started losing members hand over fist.

  • Wez

    is design not about freedom? individualism? creativity?

    being tested on knowledge is pointless when most of what you learn about design is obsolete within 5 years…

    design is about pushing the boundaries; not fitting into them. who is to say what is good design anyway?

  • Ed Risbey

    It seems to me there’s clearly enough people who think it’s a good idea to warrant going ahead with it (and who probably will regardless).

    No matter how brilliantly the scheme is rolled out, there will always be a large percentage of people who don’t want anything to do with it. These people are welcome to have nothing to do with it – it is their right to do so.

    The thing is, I thought we were in the business of problem solving, not collectively bitching about potential problems with a scheme that isn’t even underway yet. Any problems with an accreditation scheme such as this are there to be solved in a creative and enlightened way – especially as it’s being overseen by people who are actively looking for designers to participate in its formation.

  • How on earth does accrediting creativity work then?

    And by whos judgement exactly is ‘professionalism’ deemed?

    I find the whole concept of this infuriating frankly. It will do nothing except undermine both individuals and the practice of design as a whole.

    As a self taught graphic designer, I entered this career a decade ago because it was a brilliant, inexpensive and simple way of life to involve and engross myself in – a bedroom business. It was liberating, and fundamentally what has enabled me to continue along this joyful road, isnt prestige or acclaim, or a desire to be acknowledged or recognised by an official body. Rather, it is the understanding that I am part of something much larger than simply myself, and I am very happy to contribute what I am able to do – create – and sustain a living from it.

    Design is not some bolt on obviously. It is an important part of the process, and it does take a skill base to do well, but it is simply part of the mechanics. Whilst on one hand – sure I’d like a bit more cash occasionallyy for jobs I do, I always note and understand that we exist in a commercial trade, a highly competitive commercial trade and it is up to each one of us to consistently raise the bar. In raising the bar, people recognise the benefits of good design and will therefore be willing to invest more. We all see the benefits when quality work is produced.

    Simply adding a ‘professional’ tag to cherry picked designers/agencies, will do nothing to enhance productivity in the workplace. It will disenchant the creatives out there not credited ‘professional’ and it wouldnt be long before it was standard practice for companies ‘only to employ’ accredited designers.

    I cant think of many designers/agencies out there that would encourage this sort of divide. Most creative people thrive from a healthy sense of shared community, shared ideas. There is more than enough work out there for everyone. It is the aspect of how you attain/maintain the work flow that many designers are shot sighted about. It has very little to do with how their work is perceived in a’professional/non proffessional’capacity.

    If an individual deemed themselves somehow ‘better’ for being accredited, I’d love to see how long they last.

    Back to work!

  • God, I remember when this proposal came up once before in the mid-seventies. It would certainly benefit certain folk who are attracted to the notion that having the same social standing as doctors, lawyers and dare I say it, bankers, is beneficial to their craft. I for one, don’t. I find it frankly ludicrous. Imagine suggesting to the recently departed JD Salinger that to write professionally, it would help if he joined some official organisation. There’s too much administration in this country as it is, which at the end of the day, only benefits those who administrate.

  • I’m an undergraduate currently taking part in a year in industry between my second and third year, and I disagree and agree with a lot of the comments on here.

    I find the addition of CDes a little daunting – although understandable. It’s hard to think that after the completion of my degree I will have to go through another examination process to be taken seriously as a designer (if it became the norm for designer to have CDes, that is). Although I do understand that it is trying to address the issue of design not being taken seriously.

    But is this the best way? I don’t know. It seems that it will just be another test where people jump through hoops answering criteria, and not necessarily producing amazing work. It will be more about getting a CDe rather than creating great work.

    I also have to personally have to disagree about Graphic Design being only a service industry – and some of you may call me young and nieve, but that’s my personal view. Obviously problem solving and producing a solution is a key part of what we do, briefs after all are problems waiting to be solved (most of the time). But saying the act of designing a solution is just a service, seems to reduce the designing process to something that is stale and formulaic. If two briefs came in that were the same or similar would they warrant the same or similar response ? Even if that response was relevant and fit the brief perfectly. Being completely formulaic also stops that random act of brilliance or genius that is only found by doing something off topic – or completely by whim. I’m not saying that all design should be ‘art’ and that a designer is free to express at their will. It has to be relevant and fit the brief.

    I know many of you will disagree with what I am saying, and I am happy to be proved wrong or educated on the issue.

  • Ray

    Studying for for MA so no thanks.

    PS And its not for letters after my name!

  • Rob

    I think I will stick to ISTD after my name.

    At least that holds some sort of value, even if it is from other designers.

  • Yeah great, now where’s my cheque book………

  • fancy pants

    Let’s all just put “BA” after our name on our business cards instead.

  • Glenn K

    It will solve nothing.

    The idea that a new qualification / certification will have any bearing on how clients and the public in general perceive design is naive, to say the least.

    The comments by MP Greg Hands aren’t taking into account the experience of the designer/s involved, it’s an ill thought out human response, and one many designers will have dealt with (to a lesser extent) from their own clients at some point.

    The idea that design, and for that matter art, is something easy that everyone can “have a go at” isn’t new. We’re all seen that crudely drawn out idea a client (most likely very bored with their day job) has handed us, and had to explain exactly what this whole wonderful world of design is all about, and why that huge picture of a flying teapot complete with wings probably isn’t the right direction for this particular b2b artwork.

    Ultimately whilst it may enrage some, Mr.Hands (cool name) isn’t going to be taken seriously by anyone and most likely feels a fool for saying what he did. It’s mostly a case of his comments hitting a sore spot with many of us because it can be frustrating articulating exactly what good design is to those less educated in it’s intricacies. We don’t enjoy the luxury of other industries, say automotive mechanics, where the public generally feels it’s best left to the professionals. Because being creative is a very human trait, most people feel they have this inner ability and it just needs to be unlocked. Greg Hands was really saying “I can do better than that!” because design and art aren’t black and white quantifiable things. The fact we all know ‘being a bit creative’ and having the skills to cut it as a professional designer are worlds apart doesn’t really work with the public, because it’s obviously not a nice thing to accept you’re just not talented enough to make it.

    Imagining we all get those fantastic certificates, at what point will they become useful to us?

    Yes, they may scare off a few £50 logo types (no pun intended) but if they really want to eek out a living with low-to-no profile work with clients that aren’t willing to invest in quality design, what does it matter to us? I’ve encountered clients that have gone down that route, only to realise that the cheap and cheerful path isn’t quite so cheerful and oh, terribly sorry, can you fix this mess and now I see why you ultimately get what you pay for.

    And for the clients that need assurance, that comes down to your experience at handling them and a proven track record. If a client doesn’t initially like a design i’ve presented, whipping out my certificate really isn’t going to change their feelings.

    So no, it solves nothing and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t die a quiet, forgotten death having suitably enraged a community that already takes what it does very seriously.

  • In my annual review of which design representaitve to put my money with I was alarmed to see the CSD had no current website – just a sort of holding page. I wonder what the current membership benefits are exactly?

    After trying to reading Frank Peter’s response I gave up and read Patrick’s kind précis instead to make sense of it. The one bit which did stand out was his comment that everyone is able to be accredited – ‘Decorator to Interior Designers = DTP to Graphic Designers. We are all designers’… well surely this is the crux of the matter. What will the accreditation mean if everyone has it? Exactly nothing. If a client is looking for some help with branding and finds a CDes they will have no idea whether that accreditation is for branding or page layout. The very diversity of our profession makes it impossible to make an accredition in the way that, for instance, other profesionals do my passing relevant exams, accruing supervised hours in practise etc.

    We are accustomed to dumbing down in every sphere of education and culture. But please do not let us go down this path. Everyone stamped with a convenient but pointless acronym.

  • Nelly

    That’s strange, I thought professionalism and design skills should have been taught at university? Unless of course, university design courses produce…non-designers or designers who are not professional enough.

  • NakedDave

    3 years at University, thousands spent on course fees and a degree at the end of it, isn’t this accreditation enough

  • fat paul

    All finished?

    This ‘CDES, CDes, Cdes,’, whatever it is, and, ‘Chartered Designer’, is still a proposal and has to be approved by Privy Council.

    Anyone who wishes to make representation to the Privy Council can do so
    to –

    Chris Berry
    Case Officer
    Privy Council
    2 Carlton Gardens
    SW1Y 5AA

    That would be a professional approach instead of bitching herein.

    Get off your backsides and do something if you feel so strongly about it, or stop whinging and shut up – and that includes the media and the plethora of design organisations who sit back and ‘moan’. Very grown-up. Very professional.

    But then you would have to put forward a meaningful, professional considered expression of ‘why not’ to the Privy Council, not to a ‘bunch of designers’ on some web blog – go on, do it! Stop moaning.

    Write to the Privy Council (for or against) instead of watching some poxy reality show on Saturday night!

    The Privy Council will or will not approve this proposal – on your behalf (i.e the design profession) they are about to make the biggest decison for the design profession in 50 years and all you can do is moan. Prove just how professional the ‘design profession’ really is.

    I wont be holding my breath.

  • Paul G

    This sounds to me like a clever ruse by the lunching theorists to get some money out of designers for being accredited members of their Tufty Club. Anyone not a member will be forced no doubt to admit to being amateur lest they spend £300 per annum for the “I’m a professional” badge.

    Yeah, ..highly likely to have a massive effect on my profit level. (sic)

  • Dear Fat Paul,

    Thank you very much for your valuable information. I myself and fellow designers will certainly be on the case.

    HOWEVER, why are we guilty before proven innocents? Why are we being stereotyped and accused for? Do you understand the process behind our work? The statistical analysis some of our bigger pier conduct to track and monitor the success and failure of our design & advertising campaigns? Our desire to adventure with the latest technological developments? Our need to look back in history to learn & find solutions to modern day problems?

    Do you know of our contributions in the past & present? The road signage system, the underground map & the camouflage pattern we invented to help and save lives? The numerous campaigns we designed to help your children aware of the everyday obstacle they encounter, while growing up in such complex & confusing social fabric of urban cities?

    Please do get to know us before judging our ability, professionalism & contribution to the society. We may or may not need “CDes” to ensure the overall quality of our services, but we certainly DO NOT need a failing government to impose another ludicrous system to confuse our clients.

    best regards,

  • Kristina Borjesson

    The most urgent question for the future of designers is the quality and content of design education. These criteria vary enormously not only between colleges in different countries bur also within each country.
    Which competences should a designer have?
    If a certification could be closely linked to certain criteria, it might serve an important purpose: enforcing a myuch needed overhaul of design education.
    Kristina B

  • Rod

    In Norway they have got something similar at GRAFILL – Norwegian Organisation for Visual Communication. It is called AMG (Authorised Member Grafill). To become certified only members of Grafill can participate in the two day certification course. It costs 3.000 NOK (around £300).

  • Simon

    Though being ‘certified’ sounds very well and good, haven’t graphic designers and many other professionals been certifying themselves through their portfolios? Just as your portfolio and reputation speaks far louder than your academic qualifications (whatever they may be), wouldn’t it be the same with something like this?

    If a client wants to scan down a list of designers, stab a pencil at one and pick based on whether they are qualified or not; then quite frankly they probably don’t really care about the outcome of the job. Designers who are truly creative and passionate about their lives (see: profession) should be duly rewarded because their portfolios (and ultimately their work) are higher than the top-notch, not because of their CDes.

  • Why has no one referenced Michael Rock’s essay, “On Unprofessionalism” ???

    “Rather than model the design activity on architecture or law, perhaps we should view it as a kind of elaborated speech or writing. Writing is a common activity shared by all and practiced on many levels. Like design, writing is integral to human communication. Yet there is no call to standardize all speech or all writing or even standardize the way in which all writing is taught. Writing and speech are practiced eclectically; from poetry to graffiti, to novels, newspapers, tabloids and love notes. There is academic writing and experimental writing and religious writing and profanity and “bad” writing that comes over time to be considered “good” writing. For every Nabokov there are thousands of Danielle Steeles and millions of hacks pounding out stories and articles at 25 cents a word. I can appreciate, in differing amounts, both the back of the cereal box and a structural analysis of it. We celebrate the diversity of writing, the diversity of speech, the universe of information, but bemoan the paucity of good design. If we released ourselves from the realm of imposed standards, we could see design as a true meritocracy, where the cream rises to the top.”

  • Eric Hu – best thing written on the topic so far.

  • fat paul

    As Frank Peters claims Designers are not artists (above), why does the CSD use a Roman goddess of the Arts, ‘Minerva’, for the CSD logo and ‘brand’?

    Confusing – does this organisation or Mr Peters have any idea what it/he is doing?

    Or maybe it is because she was also the Roman goddess of War… a true reflection of the CSD brand?
    Maybe Mr Peters should follow his own advice –”and leave design to designers”?

    from above
    “Designers are not artists and should they wish to be they should be honest and turn to art and leave design to designers.”
    Frank Peters FCSD

  • Bob

    Graphic design is just as relevant as any art form in history. From a cave in France, to a canvass in Italy , to a computer screen in Olympia. The spark of creativity is still the spark. We owe it to the next creative generations to quantify and catalog our creations and innovations.
    A system of professional certification for designers is a good move in a positive direction.

  • Interior Design
    As someone said above Interior Design is a case in point – when I started out in 85 there were 6 entries in the local yellow pages under Interior Designer, now there are 20 pages !! – if you browse through these there are still about 6 REAL Interior Designers, the rest are Partitioning, Decorators, office furniture sales, wallpaper and decoration suppliers, furniture sales, suspended ceiling fitters office fit out firms, sub-contractors, joinery firms, carpets and hard flooring suppliers and, last but not least decorators – people who make over rooms using paint and wallpaper – the list is endless

    The biggest winner if CDes does come about will be the CLIENT – can you imagine where a potential client starts finding a good professional firm given the above list ?? – the same applies if you type “interior designer” on the web, at least in this way a client will see who is qualified and who is not

    Indeed I regularly get possible clients saying to me ” the other other firm we are talking to don’t charge for design” – my pet hate – of course they charge – they bury a hefty % on to the “fit out” cost and are usually furniture suppliers who employ someone who can use CAD on 10k PA and, from my experience charge far more in that way than the “desgn fee ” quoted by a professional

    Remodelling a building interior carries with it huge responsibilities and requires a huge range of professional skills – in the rest of Europe my title would be Interior Architect – this also helps the CLIENT get the right firm/ person for the job, here the very word architect is protected – thus the plethera of groupies gathering at the stage door of Interior Design – poor old client how the hell do they sort it all out ??

    In my view anything that clarifes and differentiates this confused state of affairs can only be a good thing

    Chris Levings FCSD

  • deborah hadfield

    Beyond ridiculous… imagine the scenario.. David Bowie CMus..

    C’mon CDes is for those people who have nothing else to think about.. to walk about with a badge of honour! Good design (in my opinion) about is breaking the boundaries.. breaking free of the norm.. Thank you creative people…you know who you are. Try to ‘measure’ or ‘monitor’ creativity and you’ll kill it.

  • John

    I think some people are missing the point about this accreditation. Clients don’t care about good design. In fact most clients couldn’t tell you the difference between good and bad design. All clients care about is cost. If you have the letters ‘CDes’ after your name, the chances are that you will be more expensive to hire than someone who doesn’t and this opens the door for anyone who is willing to do the work for next to nothing.

  • Scott

    I work therefore I am!

    The proof is in the pudding, your book is your accreditation, as mentioned by someone earlier in this feed, those seeking certification will be those shit designers amongst us – you know who you are!

  • Wonderful idea!

    Andrew Avery – Lead Creative RMS

  • CDES

    Funny thing is the CSD has been telling its members they are Chartered for years right up until early 2000’s. You only have to Google Chartered Designer to realise how many members still live with this belief. I believe this activity is in breach of Privy Council legislation that govern the use of protected terms like ‘Chartered’ – and yet they will consider their application????? I find this hard to believe. I agree with the principal of CDes but think it should be a collaboration between a number of industry organisations, as there are more bodies than the CSD all with varying degrees of limited reach. 3000 members in 34 countries?? and how many are in the UK alone? I dare say most of them.
    Also would not a designer with Chartered status granted by a body under the legislation of the Privy Council Office in the UK, only be recognised in the UK? Just a thought. Do not other countries have their own protected terms and rules of application? Is the term Chartered protected globally by a UK issuing body? If so how is this policed as the CSD is a UK registered charity, not a private company, nor the elected legal respresentative of the UK or global creative industry.

  • Body?

    I have an observation. The CSD claims to be the only professional body for designers in the world. A recognised professional body, from what I understand, carries the granted use of the restricted term ‘institute’. I am not sure the society has this? Can anyone explain by whose recoginition/authority they are ‘the’ professional body?

  • Caroline Muir

    I’m all for it. I’ve been employed as a designer for just over 20 years (since the age of 16) and worked incredibly hard at the same time going to college in the evenings to gain formal qualifications. Have to say, one a great number of occasions, I’ve felt frustrated having encountered a number of individuals who play around on the macs dabbling in word (yes, got that right, word!) and call themselves designers. I’ve also encountered some design agencies charging ridiculous amounts of money to clients stupid enough to pay it, for logos that must have taken all of about 20 minutes to knock up. Creative jargon/babble doesn’t cut it for me either. The proof is in the pudding and any designer whose prepared to go that extra mile to gain those four letters should be applauded. I went through an interview on Monday and must say despite being incredibly nervous, that irrespective of outcome (though I was successful), that I received some very welcome constructive comments and advice. The interview alone was worthwhile and I look forward to the prospect of new doors opening – not just work, but also learning/gaining experience from like-minded souls. I think in these difficult financial times, designers can no longer rely on client loyalty – being asked to produce freebies/pitch on the premise of gaining further work from it is becoming unsustainable to talented designers, leaving those that dabble to give the industry a bad name. So, I’m very much for a professional accreditation.

  • It’s one of the most ridiculous idea!!
    I don’t like to categorize or grade the creative works…
    If we need certification for designers, we would need them for artists too!!

  • I wished to thanks for this nice read!! I positively enjoying each little little bit of it I’ve you bookmarked to check out new stuff you submit

  • Good designers have networks. As a buyer I look at the work of people that have been recommended to me. Their professional status really doesnt matter!

  • I am always on at my friend who runs a small freelance business to change his job title from designer to Creative Director. The reason being that I am always looking for designers who can fulfill the consultancy / client handling part of the project.

    Generally someone who is a Creative Director got their after being both good at design and at the professional consultancy part of the profession too.

  • Phil


    Having been a member of the CSD for well over 20 years and have, according to my membership cerificate, ‘satisfied the examiners’ of my level of design competence. Now the goalposts have moved and it looks as though I’ll now be asked to pay even more and invest more time to be called a ‘professional designer’. I think this is fairly insulting – but I guess the CSD are going to have to get revenue from somwhere.

    I don’t use the MCSD suffix on my business card or, for that matter, my degree qualifications. It’s pretty irrelevant – my clients and prospective record are interested purley in whether I can do a good job for them and make that judgement on my portfolio of work rather than the appendages to my signature.

    To say that the CSD are ‘out of touch’ is an understatement. In the current environment the last thing most designers need is to have their professional qualifications revoked – which one way of looking at the new proposal. What a great way of saying thank you for 20+ years of subscriptions!

    Time that I became an ex member too!

  • William Seabrook

    This really is a double edged sword.

    How many designers do you know that like being told what to do?