The Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) has launched the Design Association, the first worldwide accreditation scheme for design consultancies and in-house design teams.
This is a major design sector initiative to encourage and assist companies to engage consultancies that are "professionally recognised". The Design Association was launched in partnership with specialist insurer Hiscox, at an event held at Hiscox's Art Cafe last night (Tuesday 21st March) in the City of London.
The Design Association has been developed by CSD, the professional body for designers, to encourage and promote professional practice within design businesses. There is currently no accreditation process available to design consultancies or in-house design teams.
Frank Peters, Chief Executive of The Chartered Society of Designers and The Design Association, said:
"Establishing a recognised professional level for design businesses will complement the professional recognition offered by CSD to individual designers. The accreditation criteria are rigorous and the scheme should change the perception of the sector from being a 'cottage industry' to a recognised mainstream industry."
The Design Association will accredit design businesses that successfully meet key performance indicators, including Professional Indemnity Insurance, Continual Professional Development Programmes, Intellectual Property Protection, Standard Practice Documentation and a demonstration of creative ability. Accredited members will be supported by a range of benefits and features, including a matching service, which communicates their accredited status to potential clients.
Gary Head, Underwriting Director of Hiscox's Professions and Speciality Commercial Division, said:
"The Design Association accreditation scheme will give designers a competitive edge in their market place. It demonstrates a commitment at the highest level to professional standards and we are pleased to have played a role in its development, through the provision of the professional indemnity insurance element of the accreditation process."
Wally Olins, Chairman, Saffron Brand Consultants, and one of the world's leading practitioners of corporate identity and branding, gave the keynote speech at the launch, during which he said:
"I remember when people did not know what designers did or what design was all about. Today, the creative industries sector accounts for 5% of the British economy and what's more, the design business is growing faster than the economy as a whole. This situation brings huge responsibilities as well as opportunities for design. We have to introduce and sustain rigorous standards. We've got to be the best, be seen to be the best and have standards of accreditation that underline and emphasise that we are the best. That's why I'm very happy to support the Design Association's initiative."