DESIGN CERTIFICATION?

Posted by Steve DeCusatis @ 7:51 am

I was recently asked about the topic of design certification by a Philadelphia University student of mine. I supplied her with my thoughts and want to share them with you as well. Her questions and my answers below:

1.  Do you think the graphic design profession would benefit from a voluntary certification system? Perhaps. Only if it were a certification process that shows a designer is properly trained to perform quality design. A voluntary process – not so much.

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2.  Why do you think that graphic design certification does not exist in the United States? I’m really not sure. Probably due to the fact that the average person doesn’t know what design is – whether it’s good/certified design vs. bad design.

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3.  If certification was to occur should it be done through an existing body such as the AIGA?  Or some other option/quango? Yes – probably through AIGA. I’m currently not a member of AIGA, but they are definitely the go-to authority for designers and are the appropriate advocators of the design field as a whole.

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4.  Would certification help a graphic designer advance in their profession? Why or Why not? Maybe. It really depends on what the certification is telling the audience – or the public. There should be different levels or categories.

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5.  Do you believe that certification is a way to measure talent or creativity? Again, it really depends if there are specific categories – like a checklist. One of my favorite designers, James Victore, is self-taught. He’s certified in my book because he thinks conceptually and can design really well. Would he certify as a college design graduate holding a design degree? No.

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6.  What do you think would happen if all graphic designers became certified? The same thing as if there weren’t any certification. It wouldn’t mean anything. It’s like if you design for ALL audiences, you’re really designing for none. It becomes generic and meaningless.

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7.  What are your personal opinions on graphic design certification? What do you feel are the pros and cons? It could be good. There is definitely much potential. I never really thought about it until this interview to tell you the truth. Therefore, I must applaud you for picking such a topic. It’s a very interesting thing to discuss and research further.