Simon Mundy, the Victorian President of the Australian Graphic Design Association, has written a blog entry on desktop in response to Andrew Moffitt’s opinion piece in desktop‘s May issue, where he posed the question ‘To join or not to join AGDA’.
Worth the read, both article and discussions in comments too.
Simon's getting some decent discussion going in there.
For various reasons, AGDA was why I started The Australian INfront in 1999. I’ve never paid to join AGDA, mainly because I’ve never been convinced of the value of joining (no offense intended).
In the late 90′s I worked at a few design companies that were members of AGDA (all you have to do to be a member is pay their yearly fee) and they admitted to me that being allowed to have an AGDA badge on your web site (along side your Microsoft Certified Partner badge!) made them ‘look good’. In fact one of the AGDA councilors in the debate writes the following on the value of being an AGDA member:
::Kudos: Put “Member: Australian Graphic Design Association” in your email signature and on your website. It’s (perhaps not) surprising how many clients take note and take you more seriously. Use it like a qualification or like accountants use “CPA”. And the more of us that do it the more powerful it becomes.
That’s pretty hilarious as it confirms this idea of paying to be a member, just so you can say you’re a member, to somehow make your design company seem more legitimate.
I’ve been around public forums to know how they work. There might only be a handful of people fighting in a room, but the fact is that thousands more people are reading the debate, and they’re making up their minds about who’s side to be on. I’m feeling sorry for Simon Mundy, who initiated the debate to try and convince everyone that joining AGDA is well worth the $250 (he's probably lost a little sleep over it last night and I'm pretty certain he's been hitting that refresh button a lot too). The responses made by AGDA representatives read a little defensive, which is a shame as they’ve got a golden opportunity here to listen to what people really want (IE: digest the feedback, have an AGDA meeting and then reply post meeting).
I tried my best to stay out of the debate, but in the end I had to chime in (couldn’t help myself!).
same here justin, i posted just as you did - my two bobs
did go to a few things they arranged which were great, one with the guys from mambo talking about their massive screen printing equipment many moons ago now, too many suits for me (state of mind not dress sense), so never hung around which maybe says more of me than them - so don't get defensive
always seen them as a studio/business orientated thing, not for freelancers or those not at the the top of their profession, elitist is the best word i can think of but not 100% on the money
their campaigns have always seemed aimed at studios and not freelancing designers, freelancers were always seen as a cheap resource by studios, which is why i work direct and found the whole idea of large studio's and their heads out batting for me a nonsense
i have always felt places like this more relevant to me as a freelancer than agda, way before this place existed i joined a few yank sites, felt more comfortable, beginning of the cyber age of communication
agda are now part of the establishment, like it or not that is how many perceive them
just as this site recently went through a 'shall we close' moment and an 'are we relevant' thing a while back they need to re-think their current relevance
if it's for you fine, just speaking from my perspective
::their campaigns have always seemed aimed at studios and not freelancing designers, freelancers were always seen as a cheap resource by studios, which is why i work direct and found the whole idea of large studio's and their heads out batting for me a nonsense::
I think you've just perfectly articulated my previously unclear feelings about AGDA, Looney.
I posted a fair bit in there so I'll try and keep it as short as possible here.
Justin, one thing I want to point out is that we're not a faceless corporation and as individual counsellors we're reading the thread and addressing as many points as we possibly can. If it comes off as defensive, sorry but to be honest, aggressive criticism deserves a strong defence. Simon's piece matches Andrew Moffitt's original piece for aggressive tone I believe, but the subsequent comments have been pretty conciliatory from myself and the other AGDA people I believe.
If you're genuinely interested, the best way to effect change is to get involved. I take some of the criticisms and some the comments are simply factually incorrect / or functionally impossible for AGDA to implement. I'll do my level best to get useful feedback out of it, (as will other AGDA people) but also remember we can't keep everyone happy. We are all doing our best to improve things for everyone.
AGDA and AIF have both been good to me and have helped me establish my business and also some great friendships. My personal experience is that it's not hard to find somebody who will knock something or complain, but it's much harder to find folks who will roll up their sleeves and get involved in fixing things. You want a better design community (whether that means AGDA or something else)? Then get involved, it's a democracy and that's how it works.
::Justin, one thing I want to point out is that we're not a faceless corporation and as individual counsellors we're reading the thread and addressing as many points as we possibly can. If it comes off as defensive, sorry but to be honest, aggressive criticism deserves a strong defence. Simon's piece matches Andrew Moffitt's original piece for aggressive tone I believe, but the subsequent comments have been pretty conciliatory from myself and the other AGDA people I believe.
It took me a while to figure out who you are in that discussion Nathanael! I've enjoyed reading your responses in there.
Regarding AGDA not being a "faceless corporation": I suppose I've not had a particular face in mind when I think AGDA for a very long time. When I think of AGDA (very rarely to be honest, but recently more than ever!) I think of a "corporation" but I don't see any one accountable leader's face (Jobs to Apple, Gates to Microsoft).
I've not even read Moffit's piece, but I gathered from Simon's desktop blog entry that it really hit some nerves with AGDA representatives (fair call at that).
Initially, I saw the discussion as:
Individual: Moffit has a go at AGDA.
Corporation: AGDA has a go at Moffit.
Ultimately: I've read a few disclaimers in that discussion, but I'm not sure if I respect them. IE: I'm unsure if someone in a position of President of AGDA can openly label an individual in our industry as "self-centred" in public and get away with it? It just seems like bullying to me.
PS: Love Clinton's contribution at the bottom of the page. It's aggressive, but he's obviously spent the time and effort to make those suggestions, and damn there are some bloody awesome suggestions in there! I assume they're exactly the kind of suggestions Simon wasn't looking for, and got (a win win).