Following the recent sacking of Chartered Society of Designers acting director Maria Luniw and the resignation of CSD president Adrianne LeMan, we trawled opinion among movers and shakers in the industry about the society, its role in representing design to a wider audience and its future. The outcome was as follows:
We all have ambitions to be more effective in the future. The CSD has a great presence in its market and many designers have a strong residual sense of belonging. Over the past few years, however, it does seem to have lost its way somewhat and an increasing number of designers within consultancies can’t see the relevance of membership. The society’s financial problems, which seem to be on the way to being resolved, haven’t helped.
British Design and Art Direction
There’s strength in the fact that we have a number of bodies working in the area of design. Design itself is not a coherent industry, there isn’t one service which you call “design”.
The Design Council has a specific remit on behalf of Government and in terms of lobbying; the DBA is a trade body; the CSD should – and does – have a specific remit on behalf of individual designers to set codes; D&AD creates standards and provides an education programme. They all have complementary remits.
I have long been on record believing the CSD and DBA should join forces and work out a viable relationship with D&AD. For me, this was the whole purpose of the Halifax Initiative, but the issue was fudged through vested interests.
Lumsden Design Partnership:
I’ve been with the CSD and the DBA for years. At the moment the best of a bad bunch appears to be the DBA. At least it is taking account of the fact that the design industry has changed and continues to represent the business of design as well as design itself.
The disastrous (and understandable) resignation of Adrianne LeMan from the CSD is, as far as I am concerned, the final nail in the coffin for an organisation which bears little relevance to the design world in which myself and my peers work.
Surely now is the time for the CSD to merge with the DBA and to form a powerful organisation which will provide our profession with a representative body we can be proud of. It certainly cannot rely on my subscription any more.
The Attik, London
Generally, I take no interest whatsoever in any organisations, so I have very little understanding about what the CSD does. I have met Adrianne LeMan – I thought she was great – so her resignation comes as a bit of a surprise and seems to me like bad news. The CSD strikes me as very political and defensive of its position. The whole thing sounds like shenanigans which don’t need to happen.
My feelings are there should be one gateway organisation. Having two separate organisations which overlap is just stupid.
Put it this way, if Peter Mandelson wants to know about design, he’ll probably ring John Sorrell.
A body of people such as the CSD should be very concerned with outward perceptions. The Design Council [represents design] best at the moment.
If I was a member of the CSD I would want to know exactly what is going on.
The CSD is not a professional body, [because design isn’t a profession]. It has a duty to its members and a big duty to the public. It’s failing both. The Design Council is the best positioned [to present a public face for design].
My understanding is the CSD still has a significant number of members and an agenda of things it is trying to achieve. I can’t see how it’s possible to continue without [an executive head]. It would have to have someone running the show. Personally, I don’t think any of [the design bodies] are best placed to present a public face and serve their members. Design is such an all-encompassing term, I don’t think any current body can represent the hugely diversified interests of the members, that’s one of the problems. I don’t see how you can find a common purpose between all those people.
I think the CSD needs to completely re-evaluate its whole reason for being. It’s quite clear that the way it has operated in the past is not the way it can continue to operate.
For the CSD to be a professional body it needs to be professional in the way it conducts itself. And that means it has to recognise that things it has done in the past have not worked, and revolutionise the way it operates in order to be a credible organisation. At the moment, it’s doing a terrible disservice to its members and the industry. And I speak as a Fellow and someone who is passionate about the industry. The only independent body which can represent the industry at the moment is the DBA.
Maybe if the CSD was focused outwards and less inwards it would not be going through this. There is an empty platform at the moment. Maybe the industry can’t be represented by one body. Perhaps there should be two bodies – one for engineering and industry and one for communications. We [at Ergo] are ready to be represented by someone with a bit more of a commercial agenda.
Global Design Register
The CSD is a total irrelevance to most clients.