What did I just give $50 to IDSA for?

Dear IDSA,

Me and my fellow students just got our rounds of “Congrats you’re a member of IDSA” emails today. To our great dismay, we were directed to a website with less content than the public IDSA website and what we were promised. Why? None of the links to “Members-only” content work; I just get 404’d. Upcoming events: blank… Aren’t I supposed to be able to get mentorships or something? Where do I do that? How do I even see who’s around in the region? How will people find me on the directory that’s so damn hard to use?

The design of the website is… something else. Inconsistent with the public IDSA (for better or worse I don’t know). What’s with the stick figure? I don’t know how to access the things I want: mentors, webinars, discounts.

I hope this post doesn’t mark me as an enemy of IDSA and get me barred from every design firm ever.

Yours sincerely,

Did you send this email to IDSA and if yes what response did you get? If no then I would suggest you start your conversation with them before going directly to a public forum to vent your frustration.

You joined - What were your expectations and or what were you told by IDSA what the value of your membership would be?

One thing your membership gets is access to IDSA exclusive webinars. one which our chapter will be hosting in Nov on Digital Detail Sketches for Production, and you also will have access to the 6 other webinars we put on ranging from sketching to surface modeling

I have been a strong supporter of IDSA and at the same time one of their biggest critics, but first and fore most I try to give them the opportunity to address my concerncs before expressing them in a very public domain.

If you want a mentor ship I would be more then happy to provide you with that along with many other members that I know who volunteer for that.

In the end IDSA has like any company its problems but I have seen growth and development in them since there new leadership. No it is not as fast as I would like but nothing ever is. Many things take time to change and restructure and they will not always get it right on the first try.

To finish my ramblings in order to ensure make you happy with your $50 member ship I personally will give you a free one on one sessions building a 3D model in Alias or SW / or provide you with training in Sketchbook pro… or showing you how do to a 3D photographic rendering. hell if we do it on a Saturday you can even invite your classmates and project the video conference. Now if you want the numbers I usually charge $100 - $150 per hour for custom training so in a quick 3 - 4 hour session you will have defiantly made a good investment with your $50.00. You could even charge 15 bucks a head and raise money for your student chapter to put on a larger event.
you can contact me @ chevis.watkinson@designconsortiumllc.com if you would like to set something up.

Also this is the value of IDSA, I want the society to succeed and I am willing to help new members as I can.

Chevis W.

Hi Chevis,

You are one of the most helpful people I have ever met over the internets. You have reduced my cynicism. Thanks.

I am actually the vice president of the student chapter here, and we were promised a lot with our memberships. There was even a PDF “ad” that we were given to send out to the other students. I have attached it. I have direct contact with the President of IDSA (professor here) so I will be talking with him soon.

I was unable to access any of the webinars (they all 404’d). Your webinar sounds really intriguing and we may setup a broadcast here at this school for the members.

How can I find a directory of mentors?

Maybe my frustration is more at the website than IDSA itself.

Thanks so much.

I have been a strong supporter of IDSA and at the same time one of their biggest critics, but first and fore most I try to give them the opportunity to address my concerncs before expressing them in a very public domain.

I disagree. As most of you have seen I feel that transparency is the best possible way to make these changes. Talking about it behind close doors solves nothing.


I understand your frustration and trust me I know that $50 is a lot of money for college student. My suggestion to you is to let IDSA know what it is that you want out of your membership. Like the poster above, I am one of their biggest supporters, but also one of their biggest critics. Trust me I have seen the faults and as you have read, I have done my fair share of creating a bitchfest in the public eye about them. But we can’t change anything without letting them know what we are looking for. They need to understand what your needs are. I know we think they should know them, but we can’t assume that if they have not been stated.

As far as the website goes…That is being looked at and has been discussed in many different forums many different times.

“I disagree. As most of you have seen I feel that transparency is the best possible way to make these changes. Talking about it behind close doors solves nothing.”

Justin, I am not suggesting talks behind closed doors but I am suggesting taking a more direct and professional approach. lets say you and I are working together and I have an issues with you. Would you prefer that I talk to you first directly to resolve the issues, or air my grievance with everyone else in the company around the water cooler.
The internet is great and much can be accomplished in a public forum, but at the same time technology has become a tool that is used poorly many times. I just finished reading another post here on core were a designer has publicly accused another designer of stealing his work work and literally defaming and bashing the person. And then further digging show that he is not necessarily %100 correct in his accusations. Many people need to learn not to react on their first emotional impulse when frustrated, especially when email is involved.

tarngerine send me your email address and I will provide you with a link to my ftp site with the videos. Access through IDSA national is something I am working with them now on but it will not be live for a little bit.

I agree, and sending a email to IDSA is a great idea and should be done, but there should be an open conversation about this. Also this section of Core was created for them. Whatever is posted here should go straight to them. Hence posting on here is should be like communicating directly with them.

I’m going to have to agree with PackageID on this one.

Starting this discussion/bringing up these frustrations online helps others at least see the process through which IDSA handles these issues. Tarngerine is vp of our student chapter. I’m president. We’re both pretty well-versed in what IDSA is trying to offer students, but even so it’s very difficult to contact IDSA to vocalize any frustrations we have. I’ve personally sent more than four e-mails to national just to get someone to update our student chapter listing with no avail yet (nudge nudge to IDSA). So with e-mail correspondence being mostly ineffective, no IDSA discussion board, and Core77 already being a venue for communicating with IDSA (where individuals actually respond), I’d say this is a pretty appropriate place to at least see if others are experiences the same issues as we are.

I was unaware that this post was created as a form of communication to IDSA. in that sense then I appolagise as this is a good forum for discussion.

But I still think that some tack an skill is required when righting emails, and or posts / blogs. This is more of a personal and professional pet peeve that I find society has taken a large step back with proper social behavior with the use of the internet. As Linda stated this is an excellent forum for discussion. But posting a negative comment without properly articulating your argument or presenting both sides of the case actually does more damage then good many times to the person posting the comments.

Linda did you send your emails to Katie Fleger katief@idsa.org who is on the flier as she is the first point of contact. Also how long was the time line in which the 4 emails were sent?

I am not nit picking but want to make sure real expectations are being set. I at time see people who live and breath by email and if they do not have a response withing 2 hours they send another… If it has been over a week did you try to reach the person by phone?? A tool that is not used often enough in this time and era

If you did take the appropriate actions and give a reasonable amount of time then i would say your frustration is warranted.

In the end IDSA is going through a growth and development process (my point of view not necessarily reflected by IDSA or maybe it is ) and much like a teenager this can be an awkward and confusing time. For the younger generation and designers with less work experience this can be extremely frustrating, especially if they have not encountered something similar in the business world. I have worked long enough to see that change in large organizations is never easy and can be extremely painful both internally and externally.

Well as i said before i have rambled on enough this time… and as mentioned my views and opinions do not nessecarily reflect those of the viewers or of IDSA national :wink:


I will be interested to see your response to the email you were sent today from IDSA and i was cc’d on, it appears as there has been communication between you and them although maybe in your eyes not enough. But none the less not as little as you had stated.

Chevis W.

Chevis, I think the tone of your post either shows perhaps some frustration on the IDSA side, or frankly how disconnected the organization is, or both. Your tone has a slightly derogatory undercurrent to my read. It could be the way I’m reading it, I grant that. Remember, you are speaking to talented, high contributor students. They may be young, but I have no doubt that in a decade these two will be design leadership at a corporation or design firm. These are the driven young folks you need to engage and bring into the fold.

The other day I was at the airport, nothing shocking in itself, I seem to be traveling 3-4 times a month these days. There was an issue with my United Exec Premiere status not taking in the system because I have a suffix on my name… now this name and number have been the same for almost a decade in their system, but new TSA rules have tightened things up a bit, and since my ID has the suffix, but my Exec Prem card does not, the issue has arisen. Now I understand this when it is explained to me… and all the other airlines were able to either correct it in their system on the spot, or immediately work around it, even when I used the United Card with other airlines… but, not United. They rather politely, but obviously curtly informed me it was my fault, and that I would need to write a formal letter with various forms of copies of my IDs. I informed them that might be great for Benjamin Franklin break out the quill pen and fire off a letter via pony express, but I think it will just be easier for me to fly another airline…

IDSA, people are shopping for another airline, and you need to reengage your base, not alienate them. If I can’t count on you to return an email, why would I call you?

Just to be clear, these topics with IDSA in the title, in the “Design Associations” discussion forum are most certainly for the benefit of the IDSA, for IDSA members who don’t feel like going through the traditional channels to vent and be heard, for past members to reengage, as well as for non members to learn about the organization through other means. We welcome your participation on a peer to peer level of discussion, and we would welcome even further transparency, ie, who IDSA posters are specifically.

Since there are not many Chevis’s out there, and I’d hazard even fewer Chevis W’s, I’d guess you are Chevis Watkinson, Principal Designer at MPE, and Vice Chair of IDSAwi. Welcome to the discussion. It will not have all the proper grammar you are looking for, but the content will be rather robust and frank.

No derogatory undercurrent meant, just trying to inquire as to if due diligence was done before taking the approach of airing things on a open forum.

And you are correct not many Chevis W’s around and you have the correct one.

Bummer, I thought e were going to get to hash it out :wink:

Having dealt with Julius and Linda in the past, I can say they are both diligent, skilled, and most likely ambitious. I dislike seeing them frustrated by our only representative organization so early in the game.

I also dislike the old "We are restructuring"excuse. I feel as though I have been hearing a version of that line for the past 15 years.

Maybe on another topic we can get into er good

I also am frustrated with students who first enter into IDSA and become immediately dis heartened with the society, thus my offer to provide the webinars to them that I have hosted and put on as chapter chair and vice chair also to provide a exclusive webinar for their student chapter. My intent was also to make sure that before becoming frustrated did they explore all the natural avenues which it seems as they have. Out side of this post I have put Linda and Julius in contact directly with Katie from IDSA who has already contacted them to hopefully get things on the right track.

I am also frustrated with the “restructuring” cycle but have come back full circle were in for the last year few years I have really been pushing and poking them. But feel that my efforts would be better spent on doing what I can for student members / new members and current members at my level, even if it is simply a monthly webinar .

Also if you really want to hash it out I have been thinking about doing a webinar series were we have two people debate a ID topic were in each person is at extreme opposing sides… Jerry springer style… let me know if you are interested

Chevis W

Pardon me if I wasn’t clear, but never said there hadn’t been communication. It just had been dropped for an extended period of time and not by me (although the most recent e-mails I had sent were not through my school e-mail, which might have created the oversight).

For this, I’d like to point to your advice that it would probably be more appropriate to give me at least more than 3 hours for me to respond to that e-mail before making an insinuation on a public forum.

I apologize for my defensive tone on the manner (I can sense that permeating even as I write this) However, it is an overarching feeling I get in my correspondences with individuals associated with IDSA that the blame for frustration is always on my end. I would agree with Yo on this manner that IDSA needs to “reengage their base, not alienate them” because even as the president of our IDSA student chapter, I do feel a sense of alienation from the professional and national sphere.

Our student chapter functions very much outside the influence of IDSA itself, and besides the associated name, we really act as an autonomous organization. We are lucky enough to have the president of IDSA national as one of our professors at Carnegie Mellon and I have had discussions with him over the transitions IDSA is going through and their new efforts to connect with students. Nevertheless, I have yet to see any real manifestation of those efforts and it is much more productive and useful for our chapter to take the reigns into our own hands and make connections with professionals outside IDSA, than to wait. All of this, coupled with communication and/or membership issues, leads to a sense (and I’m only representing the opinion of myself here) that IDSA may not be the appropriate venue for students.

I digress now since this I’ve strayed off the topic, but I felt it needed to be stated.

And for a shameless plug, http://idsa.cmustudents.org/ is our student chapter’s official blog. I think we’re doing a really great job this year connecting ID students together and with the outside world. We also really want to share our experiences with the rest of the ID community (hence new website and twitter) so we can get feedback on what we’re doing and how to improve.

I disagree that this isn’t the right forum for complaints. This is the world we live in now. When people are dissatisfied with your product or service, they feel obligated to warn others online. Hell, that’s practically what the Internet is for. In many cases, this is actually the most effective method since you’re able to triangulate with other consumers. Sites like Amazon encourage people to rate and critique the goods they sell, which frequently means the loss of a sale. This is good for the consumer as it raises the bar for the providers.

Complaining about this reality is pointless. Organizations must embrace it or suffer the consequences.


You are correct I should have provided you the opportunity to respond.

CG_ precisely!

Chevis_ I’m always open for a debate if it is something I am passionate about. Perhaps it could be on the topic of the IDSA itself :wink:

Linda_ my biggest concern with IDSA can all be summed up with this single quote: “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do” Henry Ford. Having been a former chapter chair and vice chair on the professional side, I can assure you, most professional chapters run with a similar level of autonomy. I’m also close friends with several ex-chairs across the country, and all have the same feeling. In fact, you would be surprised how many ex-chairs are no longer even IDSA members after their experience.

So a question, would the the CMU student chapter of the IDSA have any more or less support and validity if it was just the CMU Student Design League or some such? Would it be a smaller or bigger deal?

There are a few benefits, being included in IDSA regional and national merit award winner competition perhaps? Any others? Weigh that against time spent dealing with national that could be spent creating a better org and content for your students?

So our chapter advisor Wayne just forwarded me an email that IDSA West Penn wants student shorts detailing walkthroughs of the new site and how we’d use it. Apparently the site is in ‘beta’. We’ll gladly critique the website. I’m looking forward to it.

CMU huh? I think I’ve heard of that place. …Oh yeah, the first school of Industrial Design in the US. Respect.

The thought has run across my head many times. Right now we have the minimum number of IDSA student members to qualify as an “official” student chapter. However the majority of our students (50+ of them) only pay our CMU IDSA fee that we place in order to help pay for design trips and food. Take away the IDSA part of it and we almost remain the exact same organization.

The benefits I can see for students right away:

  • The ability to participate in national merit award competitions (the determining factor for most of our students)
  • Being able to put the nice official sounding “IDSA student member” on your resume
  • Discounts on regional conferences (although they end up being too expensive for us anyway)

All the other “perks” they advertise don’t have too much resonance with our students. Newsletters, quarterly publications, and discounted recordings of designers talking don’t exactly stir excitement in college students.

What I’d love to see happen, and which our organization is trying to achieve on it’s own, is IDSA really leveraging social media to help get student chapters connected with other student chapters and to help us get JOBS. We want to use IDSA to see what other design schools are up to, what ID firms are hiring, and to showcase our school’s work. Right now we use Coroflot, Fast Company, and NotCot, etc. to do those things informally. An IDSA blog or podcast would be great. Student Chapter mixers/visits would be even better.

I guess the main thing our chapter is trying to achieve, that we find lacking in IDSA, is just rejuvenating the fun back into design. It’s refreshing to visit and see all the cool stuff that IDers end up doing in the real world. And it’s nice to get together with friends and do silly competitions to design laser-enabled walrus medicine cabinets. The last thing we want is to sit down at a meeting and discuss how national is still working on the website and that a conference irrelevant to our interests is occurring 6 hours away if you pay $250. IDSA just needs to be fun again.