certifyD a graduate design thesis @ Pratt Institute by Esteban Perez Hemminger

what is certifyD?

certifyD began as a graduate thesis building a dialogue between the communications design industry and the possibility of certification in the USA. My aim is to create a platform for sharing ideas that strengthen our field and unify designers of diverse backgrounds, training and experience under a common goal: the consummation of our field as a valued profession.
While my goal for certification for the communications design profession continues, certifyD as a thesis project concluded with a one-night symposium on November 29th, 2012. The event gathered students, educators and business professionals discussing and sharing their experience and opinions related to professional standards, design education, ethics and the existing certification models around the world. Go to the event  page to watch the complete 2-hour video, event photos and collected data from participants.

Problem statement

Today, the term “graphic designer,” rather than understood and respected, has become devalued and insignificant. The tools we use, not the knowledge or expertise we possess, have unfavorably defined our profession. Design's focus on problem-solving, creative-thinking and its obligation to society has been displaced as a needless expendability by commercialism and the prevalent notion that “anyone can do it.”

As a profession, graphic design needs to establish achievable standards that objectively measure educational experience, business competency and ethics within all practicing members. These parameters would provide a platform for redefining our profession's purpose, delineating the basic qualifications necessary for professional practice, and reinforcing our relationship with society. Such principles would become a guideline for young designers, a measure of excellence among practitioners and a facilitating tool for clients to identify designers of parallel vision, beliefs and thorough expertise.

Communications Design not as computer dexterity or a tool for propaganda, but as a validated responsible profession, would then become a viable instrument for solving the communication, social and environmental problems we face today.