MANIFESTO. certifyD the design certification dialogue. Certifying Responsible Design (CRED) proposal. A Graduate thesis by Esteban Perez-Hemminger @ Pratt Institute.

As a unified association, CRED certification will:

1 build on the history of design and foment experimentation, development and innovation from education to the highest level of professional practice.

2 establish standards of excellence and commonly shared expectations for all practitioners to follow, creating a benchmark that reinforces, unites and ensures the ongoing evolution of the design profession. 

3 be assembled on a flexible platform that recognizes the changing dynamics of our industry, capable of adjusting and expanding to future developments.

4 replace the limiting term “graphic designer” with the more encompassing, appropriate and strategy-centered term “Communications Designer.”

5 define the professional Communications Designer as a knowledgeable, experienced and ethical individual,capable of providing visual solutions that add value and go beyond superficial trends, looks or ephemeral styles.

6 embrace the inherent responsibility and power of Design in the 21st century, integrating accountability into the fabric of our discipline.

7 advance the fundamental notion that Design plays a vital role in the preservation of our quality of life, the use of natural resources, our human interactions and the enrichment of our local and global society, introducing People, Planet, Profit as the foundation of our field.

8 identify that a formal design education, combined with a commitment to long-term development, are the core for growing our profession.

9 institute a platform of inclusion within the association,allowing designers from different levels of education, experience and backgrounds to achieve their personal and professional goals.

10 confront the fact that our industry enables individuals to practice via self-training, without any form of established accountability, ethical guidelines or theoretical knowledge, underscoring the value design education has on the development of the industry.

11 recognize that honesty and transparency are essential elements to forge long-lasting relationships with clients, peers, business and society.

12 require its members to follow strict codes of Ethics & Rules of Professional Conduct, holding them accountable for complying with such standards.

13 defend the value of designers inside industry, government, business and science, promoting the benefit that a multi-disciplinary exchange of knowledge has on innovation, problem-solving and the betterment of the global community.

14 denounce a designer’s participation in deceitful, fraudulent and exploitative practices such as spec-work, crowd-sourcing and other activities, without adequate remuneration following local and federal copyright laws.

15 understand that certification is not a superficial, prestigious title, but a symbol representing an individual’s level of business expertise, ethical standards and professional commitment to the practice, our industry and the general public. 

16 acknowledge that portfolios serve to showcase design applications, practical experience, procedures and skills, but should never be the sole and primary element for assessing the competence, capability and commitment of a designer.

17 foster activities that facilitate exchange and unify all fields of design, nurturing respect and collaboration.

18 protect the interests of the profession and its practitioners, continuing to fight for greater recognition, respect, inclusion, validation and participation of Design in the daily activities of our political, economic and social structures.

19 engage with academic institutions to ensure that design education provides the highest quality environment, teaching and skills, all grounded on ethics and social responsibility.

20 nurture the building of relationships between designers and nonprofit organizations, offering Design as an integral communication asset at the service of socially-driven enterprises.