DBA should focus on ‘profession’ not marketing

I couldn’t agree more with Richard William’s comments in your magazine last week (Letters, DW 5 February).

However, until the petty politics cease and fundamental professional foundations are put into place, one body will not be able to pay nationally known leaders handsomely, and no nationally known leader is likely to want the job.

The Design Business Association has had a succession of excellent chairmen and its board includes intelligent, capable and respected individuals.

I believe it could become the strong and valuable body the profession so desperately needs, but only if it behaves like one by focusing on professional development issues such as: accreditation, best practice, training, copyright, new technologies, indemnity – issues which affect and concern every type and size of design consultancy.

Currently, I can’t help but feel that the DBA is presenting itself as a “marketing resource” and therefore has to justify membership fees by commercial returns alone. As such, it competes for a slice of the marketing budget alongside PRs, publishers, new business consultants and other marketing offers.

They are in the wrong department. Professional trade association fees should be more aligned to audit fees, indemnity insurance and the like – a part of it should also be accepted as an element of “giving back” for the generic development of the industry.

A solid professional base is needed before a leading figure can fight for and defend the profession and raise its profile – they cannot build on foundations of sand and at this stage there is nothing credible to offer.

If the design industry wants a strong representative trade association, an organisation such as the DBA could provide it, but only if it gets out of the marketing department and into professional development.

Maxine Horn

Chief executive officer

The British Design Initiative

London SW6

Latest articles