What IDSA membership really means to us?

I am just wondering what IDSA membership really means to us. We pay over $350 membership fee annually. But it doesn’t seem we get what we pay for, except for several magazines, or some contact information. We still have to pay the fees for national or district IDSA conferences, or even some local IDSA events, although IDSA members will get some discounts, but that is pretty much the membership fee we had paid. Also, IDSA website never be up-to-date. The website content might be changed once a month and we cannot get many information from it, definetely not news. Obviously more ID guys check on Core77 than IDSA website to stay on contact with this community. So what that $350 really goes? I meant whether we can use it to set up a better website that really can represent IDSA. We might not except the website can make money like Core77 or others, but at least, we can use the website to stay in touch with up-to-date design news or the community?


I always liked the idea of IDSA, but I don’t see how it benefits me… I’ve never signed up.

What is IDSA?

Damn, you dont even know IDSA? Industrial Designers Society of America. Check out its website at


Ive just signed up for my professional membership eventhough i graduated in 2001. As a student the benefeits were great, but as a professional in the Indianapolis Area…well, not so beneficial. However the Chicago Chapter definately gets their money worth. I need to find out how to stimulate my branch so i get my money’s worth.

An empty wallet.

I heard someone once compare IDSA to a toaster. It just burns your bread.

I was a member for twenty years while my company(s) paid the dues. When they stopped I was out fast.

I’ve had the chance to sit down with several members of the IDSA board including the person in charge of the professional interest section. It sounds like they’ve been hearing all of these comments (essentially the “IDSA is worthless” one) and are trying to do something about it to make membership more worthwhile to professional members.

What that is remains to be seen however.

you get what you pay for.

bashing the IDSA is a regular topic, and I got to say the things typically complained about are not the things they are striving to excell at: websites and magazines.
Putting on a conference is a major headache, and having lawyers lobby for better IP and freelancer contract terms is not very sexy.

Here’s the problem: how do you get overworked and underpaid professionals voulenteer to contribute content and organizational effort from a relativly small pool of notoriously individualistic non-joiners?

this is your organization, if you don’t like it - change it.

Taking action - agree.

Paying 3 Benjimans to be involved to change an organization that is not worth it - disagree.

I would rather donate the same money to the other IDSA Infectious Dieseas Society of America.

This isn’t a free organization just making it by.

Over 3,300 IDSA members at roughly $250 each, per year. $825,000.

The IDEA award, cost to enter is $235 - $335 (call it $270). In 2006 there was 1,500 entries. We’ll say 2,000 entries for 2007 or 2008. $540,000.

Donations / patron information not available. Presumably, a bit of cash.

That’s $1.3M / year.

There are certainly upkeep costs to keep the website up, plan events, and hold conferences. But…

Agree with Lukewarm. I would spend the money to join a group that would benefit my skills, my career, etc. I wouldn’t spend $300 in order to sign up to start making changes. That suggestion is like paying a mechanic so you can work on your own car.

If there are advantages, I’m just not aware of them. Maybe I’m just ignorant to the benefits.

Or how about a novel idea:

State what you want. You say it sucks and you all bitch about it but I haven’t seen one constructive comment yet. Just a pissing match over how much money they have and how you don’t get anything out of it.

Do you go to district conferences? Do you go to the annual conference? $325 and participating soley for the networking contacts is money well spent. Spending cash and waiting for all the perks to flow to you is an absurd mentality and you definitely won’t get anything out of it.

If you do participate and still think it sucks…why?

State what you want. You say it sucks and you all bitch about it but I haven’t seen one constructive comment yet. Just a pissing match over how much money they have and how you don’t get anything out of it.

In response to ip,
Calm down bud.

I’m not really sure “what I want” from IDSA, and maybe that’s half or all of the reason. I just discussed this with my design co-worker a minute ago… For example, it’s endlessly beneficial to our Design Director, but not so much for her or I.

I’m simply stating that for me, personally, I just don’t see why I would join. I’m at a stage in my life where that chunk of loose isn’t quite expendable for that kind of purpose. I could spend the money elsewhere to support a stronger area of enhancing my design skills or connections. There is no shining feature or perk for me to join that jumps out at me. What the main argument is… I can spend $300 on the conference, or $500 on the conference + membership, when all I really see value in is in the conference. Again, I’m only speaking for myself, not everyone’s personal interests.
Continuous contacts, I can see that, but I feel Core is full of them, at a wonderful price of free.

I am perfectly calm. Just because I might be saying what people don’t want to hear doesn’t mean I am pissed off. I am stating my opinion without pulling punches.

This is a drum that gets thumped at least once a year. And each year its the same song. “IDSA sucks. I don’t get anything out of it”. And every year it comes with zero constructive input. It is way too easy to bitch about something. I am calling everyone here who is complaining…provide what you want to see IDSA do with your money.

IDSA, or any organization for that matter, is about the collective, not the individual…which I totally recognize isn’t for everyone. To say that IDSA is worthless, is absurd. IDSA has made huge inroads to getting ID put on the map. Partnerships with BusinessWeek Mag, IDEAs, Lobbying for tax breaks, etc. All stuff that doesn’t help YOU instantly, but when you are the Design Director and you have the contacts, and the road is already paved…you get the point.

We’re back to the idea of wanting something for nothing.

Publicity I want to see IDSA ads in business/trade journals,airline magazines for all those business travellers and trade shows to educate how industrial designer can add value to their business AND create the preception that our service should demand top dollars. - A branding campaign to convince why we can charge as much as a lawyer or a surgeon. Business Week is a good start, but apparently the effort stopped there. I want IDSA to brainwash clients into believe that if IDer isnt involved in the development process their project is doomed for failure.

As an independent designer I really dont care about networking with other designers. I want IDSA networking events to rub shoulder with prospects that would give me projects = money.

The secret hand shake is cool, so is the decoder ring. :laughing:

That’s already being done. BusinessWeek, FastCompany, Wired all have very Design-centric coverage. That stuff doesn’t just happen by magic.

Seriously…how much an hour should Designers charge?

They’re one in the same. Case in point…from everything I have heard guys like Yves Behar got some of his higher profile projects at IDSA-type events…the Swavorski Chandalier comes to mind.

Networking is not about tomorrow’s paycheque. Its about next year’s paycheque and beyond.

Since this is an issue of every year, that means it is really an issue. That we need to some genuis to fix it.

So for the website, how about collabrating with Core77 or try to learn from them how they run the website that can make money and also connect design together. So if the website can make money on its own, that it might help out IDSA for other benifits?

Will this dead horse ever get up?

We disagree here. I beileve it is worth the value if you don’t take the view that you plunk in your quarter and out pops a gumball. It is more of an investment. It takes time and the results aren’t instantaneous.

Just because people complain doesn’t mean it is an issue. You still haven’t really provided any concrete examples of what needs to be done. A website needs to be tweaked…woohoo…From everything I understand there is collaboration with Core77. As for their website…I am pretty sure IDSA has taken the approach of leveraging collaboration with Core77 and other already well established groups. Why invest our money into an arena attempting to reinvent the wheel as opposed to collaboration?

I am being a dink about this because you owe it to everyone to pipe up and provide some real, solid, hardcore reasons why IDSA isn’t worth the investment. Or, more to your point…what they should do with your money that would make you feel better about your investment.

I know. Its irritating as hell. Every year. Complaining for the sake of complaining.