Good design can only be experienced, not taught

I read with interest Richard Clayton’s article on continuing professional development within the design industry (Design Business, DW 19 June), in particular Richard Williams’ comment that ‘properly managed personal development programmes… are as rare as rocking-horse shit’.

As a graduate in 2000, I began work after six years at art school, with very little iMac literacy or knowledge of the ‘real world’.

I join

ed the design team within a corporate communication consultancy, where we each have a programme of training that’s reviewed quarterly and in greater depth annually. Here, employer, which is Investor In People accredited, and employee discuss training requirements.

These reviews involve recognising any areas of weakness, as well as any opportunities to add new skills to our portfolio. We’re also encouraged to attend conferences, exhibitions and seminars throughout the year.

While this ‘rare’ CPD programme isn’t points based, we all know the skills sets that we’re responsible for within the team. Anyone who has been on a training course will give feedback to the whole team so that everyone can benefit. Our programmes are designed to develop as we develop.

To introduce an ‘ISO 9000 [of] creative accreditation’ seems to go very much against what design is all about. The very process is an organic one that doesn’t follow strict rules and procedures. There’s no wrong or right answer, only good or bad design, so surely the same applies to CPD.

A large part of a designer’s development is experience, working in the ‘real world’, with big clients and to tight deadlines on a range of briefs. This is something that can’t be taught, simply experienced. These experiences must then be used, recognised and employed to get the most from the designers.

Both employer and employee should take responsibility for professional development, and while I don’t think a rigid programme needs to be developed, as is used for lawyers and accountants, a set of guidelines could be introduced for designers’ training.

In the same way Investor In People is accredited, this CPD standard could also be achieved, thus allowing designers to achieve their potential, get the opportunities they deserve and to discover the joys of rocking-horse shit…

Ian Wickens

Graphic designer

Shilling Communication

Hampshire GU33 6JQ

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