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The Chartered Society of Designers has signed up the first accredited design group to its Design Association, following a four-month assessment process. What is the value of consultancy accreditation to the design industry?

I can see the value of accreditation within professions where the public’s safety is at risk – engineering and medicine, for example. But accreditation of creativity is a risky control mechanism where designers would be at the mercy of an association’s selection process. As an accredited psychotherapist, the key criterion against which I am assessed is the number of patients I see per week. Absurdly, the quality of my work plays no part in the accreditation system. This could only too easily happen with designers.
Jan Casey, Independent brand consultant

The intention of accreditation is to generate a sense of trust and quality in the supply side of design. I applaud the sentiment, but believe that the vast majority of our consultancies, whether they are large or small, are professional and competent. I would prefer to concentrate on the demand side, which is where you will generally find ignorance, a lack of professionalism and short-sightedness.
Clive Grinyer, Director of design and usability, Orange Global Products

In principle, anything that helps clients evaluate design consultancies through measures that are not as subject to personal whim as ‘Do I like your portfolio?’ has got to be good for the industry. When we help clients appoint a design consultancy, they can be dazzled by the array of talent on offer. But the true test of the value of this scheme is how much currency it gains as a universal standard. And that depends on how well the Chartered Society of Designers embeds it with consultancies and clients.
Peggy Connor, Head of strategic consultancy and design, AAR

Groucho Marx once reflected that he wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have him as a member. I remember a young Dick Powell being told by the CSD that he didn’t measure up to its standards as he hadn’t demonstrated a particular form of technical drawing in his application, and I’m still chuckling about it nearly 30 years later. If you want letters after your name, do something good for charity.
Richard Seymour, Director, Seymour Powell

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