The Design Association initiative from the Chartered Society of Designers has announced the first consultancy to be awarded an accreditation, a year after the scheme was launched.
The Design Association, which started accepting applications in August 2006, will accredit design businesses and in-house teams that successfully meet two key performance areas in a five-stage process.
The two areas evaluated are ‘business of design’ – which rates creative ability – and ‘design of the business’ – which scores for criteria such as professional indemnity insurance and intellectual property protection.
Bonfire Design was judged over a four-month assessment period to take the first accreditation from the initial batch of applications.
One other consultancy has been accredited and will be named at the end of March, while four more design groups are in the process of being assessed.
Additionally, for the in-house design team sector, three Government departments, one multinational group’s design division and two UK companies’ design departments are undergoing assessment.
Christina Onesirosan-Martinez, business development executive at the Design Association, says, ‘DA accreditation is a stringent and thorough process. We must have such rigorous criteria because otherwise we would not need to be there. We are not big brother in the negative sense – we are trying to help.’
There is also a cost element. The cost is lower for companies with CSD members, and so employers are sending their staff to be CSD assessed prior to applying for Design Association accreditation.
The CSD launched the Design Association in March last year amid some controversy, because it sparked direct competition for design consultancy members with the industry’s trade association, the Design Business Association.
Separately, the CSD has launched four new regional focus groups in London, Leeds and two in Scotland. The groups allow members and non-members to meet, socialise and network on an informal basis.