Legally Titled Chartered Industrial Designers and ACIDO

Formal Industrial Designer Accreditation through professional associations, enforced by law…

  • yea (yes)
  • nay (no)

0 voters

disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with/do not represent ACIDO, I’m actually a student at Carleton School of ID :slight_smile:

Did you know that ACIDO (Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario) is the only organization in the Americas (to my knowledge) that has an official legal accreditation of Industrial Designers?

The legislature (provincial government) has made “Chartered Industrial Designer” a legal title in Ontario, akin to a chartered accountant. The idea being to prevent just anybody with a portfolio from claiming to be an industrial designer, although the real prerogative is on industry to refuse to contract anyone who isn’t certified (and vetted by ACIDO, involving tests and membership fees). It is a lesser version of the laws against claiming to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or architect without official accreditation.

ACIDO finds this to be a necessary step for the interests of members because the situation in Canada is that due to lack of jobs in permanent design departments, the majority of IDers freelance, or work in companies with less than 5 employees. This means it is hard to differentiate at face value from self-styled low-bidding “designers” that have no education, no knowledge of business or mass production techniques, and offering no real ROI to their employers.

This is especially true for young designers and design graduates who cannot point to a long list of former clients to prove they’re the “real Mccoy.” Even worse is that these ID imposters propagate the myth that industrial designers are mere “stylists” to be called in at the end to give a product a facelift (and it should cost nothing!). This is a major obstacle to developing a culture of design in Canada among industry, consumers, and the government. It hurts ID in Canada, and circularly ensures Canadian industry remains behind it’s design-driven competitors.

Fact is, only 80 people are design professionals under this pedigree and Canadian designers/design students/industries/government/consumers are largely unaware of it. Also, it only has jurisdiction in Ontario.

My question to you, especially those of you who are trained industrial designers, is whether you think this kind of thing is a good idea?

Carroll Gantz seems to think so…

…And for my neighbours to the south: should the IDSA do something like this? Do you have the same problems?


The Chartered Society’s worldwide are copies of the UK original.

To your last question - Yes and not quite. While I would agree to some type of certification and continuing education process, it would be done at the state level in US and should be done by an accreditation board, separate from IDSA. IDSA should retain it’s structure to be all inclusive and develop professionals by being a member as apposed to keeping a gate up and requiring people to become a professional before joining.

Hopefully the recent National Design Policy Summit in the US will help with this issue and others.

I’ve wondered why there is not a test or something, like in architecture. For ID, I’m lukewarm to the idea. I think it to be necessary in the future, but as of now I would think not. Also people who went to ‘portfolio’ schools would possibly suffer a handicap in this, as that tests and accreditations lend them selves to “process” schools far more (IMO).

ACIDO requires a submission including portfolio samples of work or academic qualification for non-industry members.

From “Bill Pr26 (Chapter Pr19 Statutes of Ontario, 1984) An Act respecting the Chartered Industrial Designers” Bylaws, section 7.-(1):

(a) prescribing the qualifications for and conditions of registration for students;
(b) prescribing a curriculum and courses of study to be pursued by students and the subjects upon which students and candidates for admission as members shall be examined and for granting certificates to students and candidates who have successfully passed the examinations; …

ACIDO has not implemented these educational requirements of the Bill; to do so will require monumental infrastructure codevelopment with various education Ministry offices, the colleges and the universities, both of whom are generally very protective of their domains.

Name recognition, legislation allowing a chartered profession to legally own their name, is a very different subject. It requires onerous infrastructure, ongoing maintenance, monitoring and policing. This requires people full time and a lot of money. ACIDO has neither and never will.

Another issue is that chartered profession name recognition is a very topical subject right now: it is blamed for the “immigrant Doctor as a taxi driver” phenomenon. It is unlikely Industrial Design could gain name recognition in Canada ever. However, it is no panacea: there are excellent, average and terrible doctors, accountants lawyers.

Besides all that academic stuff, as you write, what’s it all worth? I agree that if ACIDO, and similar provincial associations, could gain more popular recognition, then a young designer with accreditation would have greater recognition. This would be beneficial for both designer and employer. Overall, this is a failure of ACIDO, although it is a very, very difficult challenge. And if successful to any degree, it runs contrary to your comment, the real prerogative is on ACIDO to be both visible and reasonably authoritative such that industry to refuse to contract anyone who isn’t certified…