Professional Virtua Designers Society Announced

An integral part of the Fashion Research Institute is the Fashion Research Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization located in New York.  FRF is engaged in educational research using virtual worlds for education. Today, we are pleased to announce two upcoming sessions introducing the Professional Virtua Designers Society.

The purpose of the Professional Virtua Designers Society is to promote and protect the social, economic and professional interests of its members.Professional Virtual Designer Society

The Society is committed to improving conditions for all digital artists designing and developing virtual goods and products intended to be used in virtual worlds. It is also committed to raising standards for the entire emerging industry. The Society embraces digital artists at all skill levels and provides professional development to lift these special content creators to new levels of professionalism and skill.

The Society & Its Members
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The Society supports its members in numerous ways:

·  Benefits which provide a complete, comprehensive benefits package ranging from major medical to a 401k retirement plan.

·  Discounts on goods and services

·  Professional development seminars, workshops and courses

·  An annual conference – in a virtual world – to ensure that all designers can attend

·  Two tiers of membership, with Journeymen and Professional designations which reflect skill level and competence in the field

We Are the Society
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The power of the organization is the power of community and affiliation. The Society exists to enable designers to achieve their dreams and to foster a productive, profitable and pleasant work life with the same protections that employees of large companies enjoy. The Society defines a valid standard of practical competency for professional virtua designers, and to effectively represent these designers and the profession of virtua design.

The Society is affiliated with the Fashion Research Foundation, which serves as the sheltering organization.  The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that does not endorse or in any way support any particular immersive space, computer game, or virtual world.  Society registration is a voluntary program with two tiers of membership.  The Journeyman designation is freely available to all designers working in the area, without need to substantiate their ability or length of tenure as a designer.

The Professional designation offers a path through which qualified designers may obtain a formal credential indicating that they meet a meaningful standard of professional competence as determined by technical knowledge and practical skills examinations, length of design practice experience, and other factors.  The minimum qualification for entering the Society’s professional registry is the Registered  Professional Designer TM (RPD) credential.  All Society Professional members are professional designers meeting the RPD TM or Registered Master Designer TM (RMD TM) standards.

Why is a formal standard for professional virtua  designers needed?
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The terms “profession” and “professional”  are often used in design marketing material, because professionals are, by definition, more highly valued than hobbyists.   But as any professional knows, it takes more than simply calling yourself a professional to actually be one.  Qualifying to practice as in a true profession can involve years of training and study, as well as meeting a formal standard of competence.   While some professions require governmental licensing, the profession of virtua design is better served by a valid professional credential system, administered by a globally-oriented professional organization.

Designers often express the idea that their individual reputations are sufficient to establish themselves as professionals. And although the value of a well-earned reputation cannot be overstated, of course, reputations, particularly in the design field, are based on comparison and often on popularity, not on any particular standard.  In the real life apparel industry, designers of apparel are compared to other professionals, who have real standards of production and development that they must meet in order to remain employed.  Unlike the real life apparel industry, designers of virtua, however, need only satisfy a small core of diehard fans in order to call themselves ‘professional’.  By defining the term ‘professional virtua designer’ and aligning it with standards that must be met for the credential, we raise the overall quality of designers and create a substantive foundation against which designers and their reputations can be compared, thereby making it easier for the owners of commercial products such as grids, games, and other consumers of virtua to evaluate the quality of a given designer’s work, and its suitability for purchase or licensing.

The function of a professional credential in any field is to establish a minimum standard of quality for persons who are qualified to work as independent practitioners.  Therefore, the lowest credential issued by a professional credential program must designate a fully qualified professional capable of consistently producing work to a sufficiently high standard.  Credentials that do not establish a standard of excellence serve only to confuse those outside the industry, undermine the program’s credibility with other organizations and individuals, and to otherwise degrade the profession to a level of hobbyist. Professional credentials must take into account not only the time required to become truly proficient at design, but also the knowledge, skills, and additional training which likewise are integrated to evaluate the professional avatar apparel designer. Examinations for such a credential are naturally demanding, requiring the designer to demonstrate the kinds of abilities needed to work as a professional practitioner.  The credential is a valuable asset to working designers who wish to identify themselves and their work as meeting the high standards set by the Society.

An organization that issues professional credentials for avatar apparel designers needs to be made up of individuals who are qualified to assess design and who are actively working in the field.  This is the only way to ensure that the needs of the professional, working avatar apparel designer are met.  All designers who wish to join the Professional Virtua Designer Society are required to meet at minimum the standards set forth for Registered Designers, which is the minimum credential offered by the Professional Virtua Designer Society.  The Professional Virtua Designer Society openly promotes this standard, which is based on knowledge, skills, and experience, to all interested parties to the world of virtua as applied to virtual goods.

Meeting July 22nd, 2010
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On July 22nd, we will be hosting an information meeting in Second Life® to connect with those interested in learning more about the Professional Virtua Designers’ Society. There are two sessions scheduled, one at 11 AM Pacific and one at 6 PM Pacific. These sessions will take place on Shengri La http://slurl.com/secondlife/Shengri%20La/197/110/40

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6 thoughts on “Professional Virtua Designers Society Announced

  1. “I would hope the underlying ways of identifying members would be via real names and not temporary “SL” faux names that are only LL conventions.”

    So true cubicspace. A professional reputation requires this, as well as, high standards in measurable and comparable quality and in ethics.

    • Avatars do not need health insurance or the other benefits for which we have spent the last year organizing and signing agreements. Avatars do not have unique identifying numbers such as American Social Security or passport numbers which identify them to their appropriate government, and therefore cannot even register to use the majority of the benefits which are included in the organization membership packages (such as 401(k), major medical, disability, etc.)

      One cannot legally execute a contract as an avatar, and one doesn’t receive formal degrees as an avatar, unless one completes the process of changing one’s name legally with one’s local government. Avatar names are not universal nor are they in any way accepted as appropriate means of identifying individuals by governmental agencies. Even authors and artists registering a pseudonym must ultimately sign legal contracts with their ‘real’ names, which are customarily linked to a unique taxpayer and legal identity.

      Even if an individual goes so far as to register their avatar as a business and links their pseudonym with their taxation identity, we wouldn’t be able to complete a registration for such an avatar/business. The Society is intended to provide assistance to individual artists, not enterprise.

      Professionalism further demands a willingness to expose one’s identity so that others may conduct due diligence. We did not, for instance, sign our agreements with the various beneficial agencies using our avatar names, and due diligence was conducted by them on our nonprofit organization and perhaps not so oddly, no avatar names made an appearance in the process.

      One suspects one’s dealings with these agencies, including the IRS, might have been a tad complicated had one attempted to introduce one’s self as “Vorsac, 60th level mage of the Guild Goldilocks”.

  2. I would hope the underlying ways of identifying members would be via real names and not temporary “SL” faux names that are only LL conventions.

    I also suggest a realife GAG like direction and not the typical online “virtual worlds lists” that flood the web with every bubble.

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  4. This is fantastic! I really hope this is a serious effort to form a ‘professional’ class in 3DWeb and virtual world skills and standards.

    Best of luck,
    Garrett Cobarr aka Loydin Tripp (SL)

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