The Chartered Society of Designers has filed an application to the Government to approve a system of professional certification for designers.
If approved by the Privy Council, the CSD and other professional bodies will be entitled to assess and award designers with ‘CDes’ charteredstatus. Designers would join the ranks of other chartered professionals, including accountants, surveyors, statisticians, linguists, engineers and marketers.
To gain the CDes credential, designers would be assessed on their professionalism, skills, knowledge and creativity, the last of which would be gauged ‘much in the same way that degree courses manage to appraise creativity’, says CSD chief executive Frank Peters.
Peters claims to have won the unanimous support of CSD members who attended a meeting of the society last December, and the backing of other design bodies. The Design Council confirms that it met with the CSD to discuss the issue before Christmas.
Design Council chief executive David Kester says, ‘We recommended that the CSD needs to have a wellstructured conversation with the design industry to ensure that designers influence the way this works. It must strengthen, rather than confuse the existing framework of the
Peters suggests a number of bodies that could confer the CDes status, such as the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institution of engineering Designers and the British Institute of Interior Design. BIID president Iris Dunbar, who is also a fellow of the CSD, says she is giving her ‘full backing’ to the proposal, and has agreed for the BIID to be a conferring body if the charter is approved.
Once the designer has received their CDes badge, they would, like other chartered professionals, be obliged to undertake mandatory annual continuing professional development training.
‘This is not aimed at stopping anyone practising design, and there will be lots of designers who wouldn’t want to commit to continuing to train and develop, but it will help to raise the status of design as a profession,’ says Peters. ‘A lot of people have thought recently that the CSD is not oing anything, but there has been a great deal of work going on in the background regarding professionalism and standards,’ says Dunbar.
Peters estimates that the Privy Council will ruminate for about three months before vetoing or approving the proposal.
TIMELINE FOR A REGISTER
1930 – Chartered Society of Designers founded under the name the Society of Industrial Artists
1976 – CSD is granted a royal charter, recognising it as the official body for the design profession
c2001 – CSD chief executive Frank Peters starts to consider setting up a register of chartered designers
2009 – CSD applies to the Government to ratify the launch of the register