Championship battle begins in US ring

The seconds are out for the first round in the contest between the British Design Initiative and the Design Business Association (see News Analysis, page 6).

Who will emerge as true champion of the British design cause at US information technology show Comdex? Despite prevalent confusion on whether the DBA offer is open only to members, rather than to the wider design community, the association has confirmed that non-members are eligible to take part in the Comdex fair.

The Department of Trade and Industry is bolstering both initiatives with subsidies, but which offer really will be the best value in the end?

These are some of the questions that remain unsettled in this fight. But will anybody even remember what the bout is about once the first point is scored? The scrap between the DBA and the BDI is in danger of presenting the UK design industry in a divisive light, and it must be noted that neither contender comes across as squeaky clean in its tactics.

Both trade organisations claim to have the interests of British design at heart. But both have the odd side bet

riding on the outcome of the current skirmish. While the DBA is out to tempt more members – and their cash – so the BDI has an overt financial interest in servicing its members.

Fine. Commerce is the lifeblood of design and without it there’d be no commissions. But has anybody thought about that other ingredient – quality? And whatever happened to that old idea of collaboration?

Shouldn’t we be hitting the US market – new to most UK design groups – with the best that Britain has to offer on this occasion and not just with those that can afford the trip? Wouldn’t it be great if the DBA and the BDI could for once join together, select the best among their respective numbers and put on a show of strength that would really be a knock-out for those US clients? Wouldn’t it be something if the world was anything like ideal?

Latest articles