The Design Business Association is poised to launch a consultancy selection service for clients after a rise in enquiries from clients looking for designers. Such calls are coming at the rate of one each day, says DBA chairman Jonathan Sands.
The DBA’s plans may overlap with those of the Chartered Society of Designers, which has been planning a consultancy register in the years since the Design Council wound up its register.
The DBA board was this week due to discuss a proposal developed by board members Barry Salter of Design in Action and Paul King. The details of the proposal are under wraps, but Sands says the CSD is not involved. However, he does say: “When the CSD finally gets its idea going it would be nice to collaborate.”
Sands says the details have yet to be approved but that the principle is sound. “We have more and more clients phoning the DBA and asking for a suitable consultancy,” he says. “We are not talking about small, insignificant clients. We are talking about huge multinationals.”
DBA staff are phoning relevant members and passing on information. “But we are not really geared up to do this,” says Sands. “We need to address it. It is client-driven – we are not looking at this as a nice little earner.” Accreditation, selection and fee systems need to be looked at, he adds.
As the DBA’s initiative will be limited to members, CSD director Brian Lymbery says it should not conflict with the society’s own plans for a wide-ranging consultancy register, which has been in the planning stage for several months and was granted a five-figure sum last year by the Design Council.
Lymbery says that the CSD’s register will be open to its members – including many sole traders and freelances – but also to non-members and consultancies: “I haven’t heard the details of the DBA idea, but it is likely to be complementary.”
The steering group behind the CSD project, which includes a DBA representative, is aiming for an autumn launch. It has dropped the idea of a pilot scheme in favour of a national launch followed by ongoing development.