The DBA passed a resolution at its annual general meeting yesterday to make the change.
It is now bringing in a group of seven founding client members: Arup, Buro Happold, Virgin Atlantic, HSBC Private Bank, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline and Nestlé.
DBA communications director Natalie Maher says, ‘For the founding members we wanted design-led businesses and we wanted to avoid any sector conflicts.
‘Outside of the founder members, client membership will be quite open. Although there will be a code of conduct for members and we’re looking at issues such as free-pitching.’
Maher says that opening DBA membership to clients will give businesses ‘a peer-to-peer forum for design issues’, as well as providing support for in-house design teams and design managers.
It will also allow the DBA and its members to have direct communications with businesses interested in design.
The client membership initiative has grown out of the client advisory group for the DBA’s directory, an online database of DBA-registered design groups that launched last year.
• The DBA is marking its 25th anniversary this year, and B&W Studio has created this anniversary campaign, which shows party poppers exploding in super-slow motion, soundtracked by a guitar playing backwards.
Steven Wills, creative partner at B&W Studio, says, ‘The DBA always listen to our ideas – however unusual or unexpected.’