Accreditation - Beyond The Portfolio
4th February, 2011
Via The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
The accreditation of design practice has its supporters and its detractors, and the debate between the two looks likely to increase as a result of our current initiatives. We've substantially reviewed our own membership accreditation in the past decade, culminating in the development of our framework of design practice competences known as the CSD Genetic Matrix. This has underpinned the development and review of our accreditation programmes for design businesses and design courses, which have been piloted and are ready for delivery.
As the professional body for designers across all disciplines, our Royal Charter requires us to achieve a recognised profession of design for public benefit. And as a registered charity, our work must also benefit the community. Accreditation allows us to demonstrate both of these requirements.
But by far the greater benefit of accreditation is to the design sector itself.
Most designers have been regarded very differently at times by architects, solicitors and other professionals - demonstrated by unpaid pitches, unacceptable revision costs, IP exploitation and the like. The professions designers cite as acceptable models of practice - where professional fees are expected by clients - rely on their accreditation to underpin such fee structures.
Designers with a credible professional accreditation will be more readily accepted by other professionals when working together to provide the complex multi-disciplinary services clients will increasingly require.
Common arguments against accreditation are that a portfolio displays a designer's credentials or that creativity can't be measured. But are these notions created by the design sector, perhaps unconsciously, to act as a barrier to entry by others? The design outputs in a portfolio, on their own, provide little evidence of the design process and whether or not it was done professionally. Often further evidence is needed to qualify this, which clients or the public may not have access to or the ability to judge. And the idea of not being able to measure creativity brings into question much of the design education that has given rise to the UK's prominence in the field. Professional design study and practice is not just about creativity, it's also about removing barriers to creativity.
Chartered Designer status (The Designer 16.12.10) will be the final piece in the accreditation jigsaw. Once approved this will reposition and ready designers for a rapidly changing profession. We feel accreditation should not be frightening to our profession, but reassuring.
The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) is the professional body for designers and the authority on professional design practice.It is the world's largest chartered body of professional designers with members in 33 countries and is unique in representing designers in all disciplines.CSD is governed by Royal Charter (click here to read) supported by the Byelaws (read the Byelaws) and as such its members are required to practice to the highest professional standards.