Frequently asked questions

Who owns BIDA?

British Industrial Design Association is the operating name of BIDA Limited, a not for profit company, limited by guarantee and founded in 2005. Nobody legally owns the organisation as there can be no share capital. 

The Articles of Association require a regularly elected, voluntary board of directors with a limited term of office run affairs on behalf of members. 

Who are the current BIDA board directors?

Dan Martin (Octo), Les Stokes (LA Design), Phil Gray (Design Momentum), Stephen Green (Imperial College) and Steve May-Russell (Smallfry) are directors. All were elected in 2016, when all members were invited to stand in the second open poll of members since formation.

How are BIDA elections run?

The next election is in 2019. All ProBIDA members are encouraged to stand.  All members can vote.

Can members join the board in-between elections?

BIDA welcomes applications from any members who would like to advocate an area of interest.  You can be co-opted onto the board.

How can members advocate improvements?

Any member is welcome to suggest change.  Please contact a board member and/or present a resolution at our AGM each autumn.  Since 2012, all resolutions have been put to an open vote.

How can members facing issues get support from BIDA ?

Any member with an opportunity or problem should contact a board member, or post to our LinkedIn site. 

BIDA has effectively supported members by facilitating credible collective action.   Together we have successfully mounted campaigns to stop unfair, selective state subsidy that threatened design businesses.  Members have created consortia to address opportunities that working independently would not have been viable.

Can I promote my business, course or department via BIDA?

Yes - join as ProTeamBIDA and your group will be listed in the BIDA directory of accredited design consultants, accredited course teams or in-house teams as appropriate.  ProTeamBIDA members will be notified of any work opportunities received by BIDA.

Join as an affiliate organisation and your services will be promoted to the industrial design community.

Who created the BIDA brand, and communications media?

All BIDA documentation and media has been voluntarily created by members.

Can I join BIDA as an individual or an organisation?

You can join as either an individual, or an organisation. 

Individuals fees depend on the grade of membership applied for.  Professional Individual Membership ProBIDA is £156 annually.

ProTeamBIDA or Affiliate organisation subscriptions are £240 plus £96 per individual for any grade.  If an organisation has one or more ProBIDA members, it is entitled to the affix ProTeamBIDA. 

Do I need to go through an accreditation process?

No - any person or organisation interested in industrial design can join as an affiliate.

If you want to gain ProBIDA status and you can demonstrate over 15 years design practice, you can apply without interview, subject to the support of two referees and the membership group.

People with less experience can gain ProBIDA status by presenting 2 case studies of their work in person, or remotely.  Presentations are an informal learning and networking opportunity - not a formal interview.  Other applicants and two experienced assessors are involved in an interactive format.  Candidates and assessors are encouraged to share experiences and good practice.

How can I pay subscriptions?

Choose to pay individual or team subscriptions by monthly direct debit, or annual card payment.  At the end of the application form there is a link to paysubsonline, with a simple account setup. You can also contact to recieve bank details.

Is VAT payable on subscriptions?

BIDA is not VAT registered and VAT is not chargeable.

Who created the BIDA membership structure?

ProBIDA  status directly reference criteria from the UK National Occupational Standard for Industrial Design Practice. 

This was developed by UK Creative and Cultural Skills.  The process involved consultation with practising designers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, including BIDA members.  The standard is ratified by the UK government.

What is a National Occupational Standard?

It is a series of guidelines developed by experienced practitioners to help identify the skills, experience, knowledge and performance levels that people should be able to deliver at different career path development points.  

BIDA's use of the standard is not a restrictive "box ticking" exercise. Nobody is expected to demonstrate excellence in all the criteria.  Professional applicants can select one of four specialist areas. 

At BIDA membership assessments we use these criteria in a pragmatic and flexible way.  We encourage candidates to be innovative by challenging and interpret criteria in relevant ways to their experience.  We expect people's creativity to shine through. 

Why isn't a degree enough to gain ProBIDA status?

No profession expects graduates to have reached a high level of professional competence without demonstrating achievement and practical experience to peers.

Product, service and interaction design are inherently very challenging roles. People move between focussed and blue-sky thinking, inter-related creative, technical and user focussed activities every day.  Good industrial design is not easy.  BIDA aims to provide membership options that reflect the value that creative, skilled and knowledgeable professionals can add.

BIDA is the only body that bases its membership criteria on specific, nationally researched, government approved criteria related to industrial design skills, experience and performance. 

These criteria give educational establishments clear guidance on what employers expect at different stages of a designers career.

Can I join BIDA as a student?

Sorry, BIDA does not yet have a student category.

What will my membership subscription be spent on

BIDA is a "virtual" organisation, with no premises, no debt or other long term liabilities.  We attempt to keep running costs as low as possible.  To ensure members are independently represented we contract a manager to run BIDA day to day and to attend selected pan-design events and help promote membership.

We plan enhancements to BIDA's online presence and a series of initiatives such as relevant surveys and competitions that will incur minor running costs.  We also plan to reimburse members for some of their expenses.  Since 2012 no member has claimed expenses in relation to their voluntary efforts for BIDA. 

What are BIDA's relationships with other design membership bodies?

BIDA board members and other members, or their businesses are also members of the Design Business Association, the Institute of Engineering Designers and the Chartered Society of Designers.  All of which have different but equally valuable membership criteria.

Board members have worked closely with the DBA to make industrial design elements of the DBA design effectiveness awards more relevant to practice.  We are involved in ongoing discussions with the IED, working towards sharing back-office support. 

Who founded BIDA?

In May 2005, voluntary Directors Paul Pankhurst (PDD),  Les Stokes (LA Design), Fred Brown (KGB), Jeremy Walker (Norwich Union) and Maxine Horn (British Design Initiative) founded British Design Innovation.

Maxine Horn was contracted to run the organisation as CEO, until her resignation in January 2011.  A license fee was paid in return for a working time, specified services and use of British Design Initiative assets.  In May 2011, the licence was renegotiated to remove working time stipulations and reflect a reduction in asset use.  The license ceased, following the licensor serving notice of termination in May 2013. 

With the consent of members at the following AGM, all activities were rebranded BIDA.  In 2017 the board sought and was granted companies house consent for a change of name to BIDA Limited.  

Why call the organisation British Industrial Design Association?

BIDA accurately and specifically describes who we are and what we represent.  All the voluntary founder directors were trained industrial designers, working in product, service and interaction design.  The current board and majority of the membership fit these criteria, working in consultancy, in-house and in education.   

What is the difference between product and industrial design?

There is often none, but BIDA advocates the term industrial design as more inclusive, internationally recognised and relevant.  Our membership is deeply involved in strategy, digital interaction, service development and physical product design.  Outside the UK industrial design is recognised more as a descriptor of what we do.

Since the pioneering days of industrial designers like Raymond Loewy, people and organisations have successfully created products, branding and communication that have driven great service.  We welcome all, no matter what you prefer to call yourself.