Sam Bolles, C.D.

We prove our worth with our portfolios, not with a membership badge.
— Grace N., in a comment on the Creative Review

There's a new show on Bravo, that home of "reality TV" which is more competition shows than it is "reality" (they're cheap, easy to produce, and honestly more entertaining than you'd think). But this new show is called "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," and it is an abomination on TV.

It's just another competition show, but my main problem with it is that it is qualifying expressive art. From what I understand (I haven't seen more than one episode, because it frustrates me so much), contestants are given a theme or topic or objective with which to create a piece, with restrictions to add that special twist. But each piece is subjective, created by one artist, and viewed by one person. How can you say one piece is better than another and be objective about it? 

But I'm concerned about what's happening over in the UK. It's almost a "Work of Art" kind of thing, but done in an actual profession, across the board. To make an exceptionally long story short: in February, the Chartered Society of Designers made an application to the government to award certification to designers. This application was just granted. Without getting too dramatic, the CSD will soon be allowed to dictate who is and who isn't a designer.


Architects, yes. Doctors, absolutely. These are the professions that warrant a certification. These are professions that require a board to make sure the people who build buildings and operate on humans do them correctly so that these buildings don't fall down and doctors don't open people up and say, "Huh, what's this do?"

But like art, design is inherently subjective. I'm not arguing that there are not standard and practices designers follow. And I'm not arguing that some things look better than others. My concern is how it could stifle creativity. A board is going to certify what it likes. And say a board doesn't like your work that is a bit out-of-the-box. So you don't get certified. Now it's harder to find work, because you or your studio isn't certified.

I may be getting melodramatic, but that's where it might lead with a certification. And maybe I don't know enough about the inner workings of the CSD or what it's process will be (and I hope I am woefully ignorant), but like I said, I'm going to keep an eye on it.

(That said, I would be pretty damn cool to have a professional suffix. "Why yes, madam, I am Sam Bolles, C.D.")

(via Creative Review)