Once and for all, lets hear what you think.

I have seen a lot of posts on the boards about everyones thoughts on a Industrial Designer Certification. So, once and for all, what do you think of having an official certification for ID majors so any Mech. engineer with time on their hands can “just start industrial design.”? What yall think.

I vote YES.

I vote for yes also. And 3 yr tests to keep knowledge current. Interior designers have similar I believe.

What do you think of this article posted on core77. Design Certification - by Carroll Gantz, FIDSA
he makes his point, but seems a little harsh, maybe the truth just hurts.

I am totally for ID certification. However I do see some problems. Different schools have different approach. Some are geared towards aesthetics and some are more towards engineering. Furthermore, most of what you need as a designer comes after you get a job, so how can students be tested?

how is that different from any career? not all schools are the same thats why some are better than others. Thats why it matters what school you go to? My sister is in dental school, they learn differnt things than other schools and they take the same boards to be certiifide? is that fair? I think eventually schools will stand out from others, even more so than now based on what they can do to prepare you for the end of your education and ability to become certified. I think also that it will make other low end school either drop ID, or force themselves into make improvements all which sounds good to me. I am all for making it hard to become certified, that will bring out the best. and most deserving. No one will say you cant be a designer if your not “official” but it may make a difference to employers. If you are working you ass of in school so you can be the best, dont you deserve it? Slackers dont become doctors, or lawyers or engineers, I dont think they should be industrial designers too.

Sorry about the spelling errors above. One more thing, we all know the IDSA is really the only ID powerhouse looking over ID as a whole, so I think it would be up to them and their members or board who we would agree are qualified to come up with how we would be certified. I think we can look to interior design as a process, and current ID schools to agree to. This could be a very good thing if it were to happen, I really think those who are hear to make good design are the winners in this situation, not weekend warrior designers.

So, who will be the harvard of ID?

The school that delivers the first set of consistent graduates over a few years of certification. Guessing who that is now is only stroking the ego of those graduates who may not measure up in the end so why even ask.

I came from a system that uses examinations to determine everything, even art. Yes, you work for the entire year to get a project done, such as an installation or a sculpture, then they get an examiner that don’t know you nor your work, spend about 30mins walking around it, look at your sketch book, and then grade you.

What about process? What if it’s so abstract that they need a bit more explanation? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you are not supposed to show up to. It’s like you don’t even know who graded it, how was it graded and why you got the grade.

So is that fair? This is not math or physics where you can have a definite answer. I am not saying that it’s impossible to do it. I am just afraid that schools will eventually give up to the system, quit teaching what they are supposed to and only cater to what the examination looks for. That’s because when you have a standard system like that, there will be ranking. And schools will want to be on the top of the ranking. I am worried because I went through that, and it sucks.

As for now, everything is judged based on your portfolio and presentation skills to get a job. Those who can’t produce a decent portfolio will eventually learn it, or they won’t even be in ID. I think a certificate for ID should be based on the experience and how much the employer values that particular designer. Afterall, ID is really broad. you can’t expect someone to be good in every aspect of it, and you can’t also just issue certificate on just one or few of the aspects. It’s going to be a relative thing, and of course there will be a lot of chaos.

The reason for no need for certification in ID is because the term Design is too broad. Designing is different than the job of an architect or lawyer, where the final result is dependant on one’s ability or skill to sustain certain assuarance. Whereas design is a quality of an idea; either you have it or don’t. Moreover, your ideas are judged upon by HOW you think. There are bad designs out there, but not because of lack of expertise. Bad design exists from poorly thought through ideas.

Designing a shoe is very different than designing a medical equipment. To acquire a certification over the entire field of ID is not logical.

The presentation of your practiced design methodology in conjunction with your portfolio diversity is testimony of your ‘certified’ ability to practice
industrial design in my opinion. Although certification would help promote credibility in an already undervalued design profession, there already exists too much diversity and emerging fields of specialism occurring in the industry to quantify a ‘certified’ industrial designer.

Perhaps a certification system that offers credits in particular design specialisms such as - enclosure design, packaging design, tradeshow booth design, display design etc… might work.

I strongly disagree with there being too many design “categories” to make certification worthwhile. And designing a shoe is only technically different from designing medical equipment, but the approach and rigour necessarily similar. Imagine a different design profession for every product out there! However posted this stupidity should return his/her design degree and do something else. This same idiotic reasoning makes the design media separately categorize “Furniture”, “Industrial Products”, “Medical”, “Consumer” and so on. After all, an architect can tackle any type of building, a graphic designer anything printed and an interior designer practically any interior - or so they are trained to. Why should there be medical product designers for life? Are there “Gearbox Engineers” or “Sump Pump Engineers”?

The designers of the “industrial” type must be trained and SHOULD profesionally be able to handle at least the general conceptualizing of any industrially-produced goods that do not fit the other “design” fields. Now, that makes for an awful lot of our build environment, making ID the design profession with likely the highest calling and potential influence of them all. You BET industrial designers should all be certified one way or another since our impact on daily human interaction with objects is tremendous.

Main problem now is everyone can call and sell themselves a product designer and this is what certification should attack first. As for schools each teaching design differently, other posters here correctly pointed out engineering and other fields are are taught differently (to some extent) yet still subject their graduates to a common final certification, as are doctors, lawyers, or architects. Schools will adjust or - even better - fade away when lacking. A common core of courses and set of excellence standards must absolutely become the norm in what today is a totally anarchic and confused way to approach design pedagogy.

The article one poster pointed to is harsh but very realistic and is exactly how many experienced designers see the situation. Design school and practice should be no picnic when so much is at stake, the livelihoods of thousands of future ID graduates included.

This whole idea of ID certification strikes me as silly, reactionary, and needlessly bureaucratic. There is a problem for sure. Too many schools offer degrees in ID relative to the number of positions available per year and too many students graduate without the requisite skills to obtain gainful employment. This is a problem but how is certification supposed to help it? Ms. Grantz believes that if there is some baseline certification that will become a meaningful indicator to potential employers, but will it tell anything that 5 seconds of flipping through a portfolio won’t? How many employers would choose a mediocre port with the IDSA’s blessing vs. a great port without?

Comparing ID to medicine or engineering is inappropriate. Those fields are built on a preponderance of examples that demonstrate an adherence to laws of nature. Physicians must know where arteries and engineers must know how to design a bridge that will not fail. These are minimum requirements created to ensure public safety. What in the field of Industrial design is equivalent? Even in the broadest definition our field encompasses user research, human factors innovations, aesthetic improvements and some manufacturing knowledge. What can be objectively tested there? Where can an industrial designer make a mistake that would kill a person? Granted a defective product could cause death, but there is a body of law that covers this and the onus really falls on the manufacturer to do proper QA testing.

If the goal is to create an objective scale on which to judge design programs (which is incredibly important and way past due) there are certainly better ways to do it.What if the IDSA created an index of companies and polled them as to what schools their most recent hires graduated from? Say we break all the major players into three categories

Large: IDEO, NIKE, Ford

Midsize: Design Continuum, Reebok, and Target

Small: Fuse Project, Puma, Michael Graves Design
(This is obviously a truncated list)

and then post a break down:

Art Center 2004
Large:42 Grads

RIT 2004
Large: 22
Mid: 11
Small: 7

RISD 2004
Small: 6

Not perfect by any stretch but it would certainly give an indication of what schools were graduating employable designers and which aren’t. Also firms could do a lot just by making copies of the portfolios of new hires and sending them to schools so people can see what it takes to get in the door at various places.

Industrial design shouldn’t require certification. Those with skills will succeed those without will fall out. Aside from being hard to quantify certification would just be another expense students would have to bear with little value provided.

Is it really the certification testing that adds value to the fields of architecture and interior design, or is that there is a well organized, well managed group run by members of the community that uses a unified voice to effect change? To me, the certification is just an entrance exam; a method of assessing commitment to membership. Tests rarely determine talent, and often fail to even determine success in basic skills - especially when applied to broadly defined fields. At this stage, it seem like it would just look good on a wall and impose further cost in time and money on an already economically depressed profession.

Maybe the focus should be on how to create or (in the case of IDSA) enhance a professional community that designers can use for real stuff like influencing schools to change bad curriculum, helping designers network and get jobs, hearing about new ideas, meeting peers, staying excited about their chosen profession, learning what the field has to offer outside of a vacuum, and lobbying to give a clear message to industry about what the profession has to offer.

I’m curious to know what people here feel about the IDSA? Like, how does it stack up to other groups such as ASID? Is certification a missing component? What real benefit would come of introducing another layer of test taking?


gonna dust off my BFA and frame it. thats my certification.