The Design Business Association has upped the cost of entries to its effectiveness awards from £164.50 to £1110.38 for non-members and from £117.50 to £575.75 (for first entries for members). What message does this send to the industry?

‘The sad thing about the International Design Effectiveness Awards entry fees is that it now makes the awards exclusive to only those which can afford them. Whatever happened to the notion of an inclusive trade body for design where everybody can benefit from shared knowledge, whether you are a large or small organisation?’

Callum Lumsden, Director, Lumsden Design Partnership

‘Despite protesting to the contrary, the message is that it isn’t aware of, or is ignoring the economics of smaller design groups and is putting the awards purely in the remit of large groups with large dedicated PR budgets. Although we know the value of winning awards both for ourselves and our clients, as a small studio it effectively writes it off as a scheme we would be able to enter. Whereas before we might have taken the usual calculated monetary risk, we would now plump for a G4 every time.’

Martin Cox, Director, Blast

‘The entry fee should be proportionate to the value placed upon the awards – and £575 still sounds quite cheap to me. If we’re not prepared to pay a decent entry fee to supposedly prestigious awards, what signals about our confidence does that send out? But why so low for so long?’

Alastair Whiteley, Creative Director, The Core

‘As a life president and co-founder of the DBA, I’m horrified that all the ideals upon which the organisation was established will create a greater divide within the industry and further separate the small groups from the larger ones. There is some outstanding and effective work being produced by very small consultancies which will now be prevented from being seen due to this irresponsible action. The DBA has gone past its sell-by date and is acting without any sensitivity to the needs of smaller design groups. Now is the time to disband the DBA and create a new and more effective organisation that recognises that imagination (rather than just money) will help achieve members’ objectives. As our protest, Identica has just stopped its entries for what will now not be an all-embracing awards scheme.’

Michael Peters, Chairman and Managing Director, The Identica Partnership

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