The origins of the CSD lay in the formation of the Society of Industrial Artists (SIA) in Britain in 1930, a time when the nature and definition of both designer and the design profession were a matter of public debate. Manufacturing industry and the business community were generally sceptical of the potential economic advantages that investment in design could deliver, as was evident in the generally low status of designers' pay and status discussed in the Council for Art and Industry's comprehensive 1937 Report on Design and the Designer in Industry. During the 1930s SIA branches were established in a number of the regional centres of manufacturing industry such as Manchester (textiles), Stoke on Trent (pottery), Birmingham, and Liverpool. Nonetheless, despite efforts to augment national membership the total number of members lay only at 250 by 1936. In the same period the society also inclined towards what was known as ‘commercial art’ and advertising rather than industrial design per se.
Following the establishment of the Council of Industrial Design (See Design Council) in 1944 and its commitment to educate manufacturing industry, educators, and the general public in design matters, the SIA decided to initiate a more rigorous approach to membership in 1945. This represented a marked shift away from the relatively informal attitudes of earlier decades, with the dissolution of existing membership, the establishment of a Selection Committee to vet applications, and the implementation of rigorous guidelines. These required members to demonstrate their experience of designing for mass production, whether in terms of industrial design or marketing and advertising. Indeed, the SIA sought to validate its position through its efforts to advise designers about contracts and fees and the establishment of a Code of Professional Conduct. With the growth in the number of design consultancies in Britain in the 1950s there was a growing unease about the term ‘Artist’ as an appropriate descriptor for a profession which sought recognition for itself on a par with engineers, lawyers, doctors, and architects. This led to a recasting of the organization's title in 1965 as the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD), a shift which was consolidated in succeeding decades with the recognition of the significance of design management. This drive resulted in a further change in title to the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) in 1987. In the 1990s, the CSD worked closely with the Design Council, the British Council, and the government in the promotion overseas of British design as an important instrument of innovation, creativity, and economic and social well‐being.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.