We define 'professional performance' as the component of professional responsibility stemming from the practice of design itself: this includes all the body of professional knowledge that is specific to design and capacities necessary to provide high standard design services.
MAINTAINING HIGH PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND LEVELS OF COMPETENCE
Designers have a professional responsibility to create good designs. It is the designer’s responsibility to maintain the highest quality of service, creating designs that serve and even delight users and always benefit them. This is done by adhering to design methodologies and assuring that all parts of the process, from research to final deliverable, are done adequately and thoroughly. Design solutions should be appropriate, intuitive, necessary and useable. Evaluation of a good design does not end with the targeted individual user or paying client but includes the impact of the design in terms of its production, as well as the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of the design—throughout its life cycle.
Not all design is ‘good’. Beyond its narrowly intended function, the outcome—the design—must consider the social, cultural, economic and environmental impact as integral parts of the solution. Designs have enormous impact on society and on our planet, often far beyond the intentions and reach of a particular product or message. A worthwhile design creates value. A poorly conceived design causes damage. Designers must not take their responsibilities trivially. Only a small percentage of designs can accurately be described as meeting all these criteria, meaning that ‘good design’ is rare.
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (LIFELONG LEARNING)
After receiving formal education in institutions of higher education, where most designers obtain a foundation for practice, in order
to maintain and grow these competencies, designers have a professional obligation to continuously update their knowledge and skills. This could mean training in new technologies, keeping up with recent environmental impact science (pertaining to materials, manufacturing technologies and life-cycle impacts
like energy usage and end-of-life), researching evolving social and cultural trends, keeping up with changing legal frameworks or understanding the psychological and physiological impacts of their designs.
It is easy to fall in love with our ideas, but we do not design for
our own pleasure. Good design comes from the ability to accept and value criticism, be open-minded, work in teams, and listen (to experts, to the client, to the end user, their peers, their collaborators and the general public).