No organisation represented us… so we formed our own

Letters to the Editor should be sent to Design Week, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, Fax: 0171-970 6730, e-mail

In your article in a recent issue of Design Week you suggested that designers are apathetic about organised bodies who are supposed to represent their interests.

As a practising designer, I care about what happens in the industry and it appears that more of my contemporaries than you might think do too. But it is not really surprising if we are not cock-a-hoop about the organisations that currently exist, supposedly to represent our interests.

I’m an old-school designer, trained in the craft using a Magic Marker and scalpel, and have had to make the painful transition from “lick and stick” to “point and click”. Who helped us through this retraining? Where were the modern, lively, interactive organisations that really understood the needs of all the graphic artists out there as we move into Y2K?

About 18 months ago I was discussing this subject with a colleague, also a designer. How useful it would be, we thought, to be part of an organisation that addressed the important issues of our time. A body that could identify with the needs of the mass of people just like us who design on a computer – from students through to the employed and self employed. An organisation that carried a prestige of membership, but that was not elitist, that addressed the real issues, that would standardise and record the achievements and skill levels of graphic artists, that identified training requirements and took a serious view of commercial awareness for students before they enter the real world.

Surprise, surprise – we drew a blank! So we started our own.

The Alliance of Digital Artists was launched officially at the Total Publishing show at Olympia last July and it is for anyone involved in digital graphics, including graphic designers, packaging designers, photographers, graphic artists, students, video artists, Web masters, product designers, illustrators, 3D modellers, animators and so on.

Guess what? Thousands of people just like us feel the same about their future and are joining the revolution.

David Smith


Alliance of Digital Artists

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