And what’s your line of work?

The lead bodies for design are the Design Business Association and Chartered Society of Designers, but what exactly do they do? Andy Gilgrist finds out

SBHD: The lead bodies for design are the Design Business Association and Chartered Society of Designers, but what exactly do they do? Andy Gilgrist finds out

Designers and design groups are, at one time or another, invited to join their respective professional and trade bodies, the Chartered Society of Designers and the Design Business Association.

Some join and find the experience worthwhile. Some join, then leave. Most don’t join and don’t see the organisations as attractive or necessary. Many in the industry remain unaware of what the two bodies are, do and stand for.

But whether you’re in or not, both organisations are focal points. They do wield some influence both inside and beyond the boundaries of the design industry. Neither escapes criticism.

The DBA grew out of and split away from the CSD, and while the two bodies serve different purposes they do share some common ground and work alongside one another on some fronts.

Both liaise with a hatfull of bodies and organisations, including the Design Council, the Depart- ment of Trade and Industry, the Confederation of British Industry, the Design Museum, and the Industry Lead Body for Design.

Both are working with the Design Council in setting up support groups for the Government’s emerging Business Link network and producing resources for Business Link staff. The CSD and DBA are represented on the Design Council’s new Professional Bodies and Other Organisations Advisory Group.

And both the DBA and CSD are pursuing Design Council-controlled DTI funding for projects.

Ethics is another area where both organisations have similar views on issues such as free competitive pitching One of the questions that occurs to both members and non-members is why can’t the two merge to create a united front? The DBA offers a “no comment” on that question while the CSD is keen to merge.

The DBA’s reluctance is probably due to a combination of factors, including a perceived conflict of interests between designers and their employers, the consultancies. Money is also a factor – the DBA has some, the CSD owes its bank several hundreds of thousands.

But both are agreed on the good sense of collaborating on some issues and projects.

So what are these organisations? What do they do and how are they run? Where are they going and what can they offer? As both prepare for their AGMs in June, we ask them where they stand and where they are going.

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