The Design and Industries Association is a United Kingdom charity whose object is to engage with all those who share a common interest in the contribution that design can make to the delivery of goods and services that are sustainable and enhance the quality of life for communities and the individual."
Shortly before the Great War there was a growing awareness, among British designers, of the extent to which German industrial design had taken the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement (that had originated with William Morris and others in Britain in the late 19th century) and had successfully moved these into the age of mass, mechanised, production. The German Deutscher Werkbund organisation's Cologne exhibition, held before the outbreak of war in 1914, had been visited by many of those designers, architects, retailers and industrialists who were later to found the Design and Industries Association.
In March 1915 an exhibition of German manufactures was held at Goldsmiths' Hall in London. Shortly afterwards a meeting under the chairmanship of Lord Aberconway led to the foundation of the Design and Industries Association (DIA), with the express intention of raising the standard of British industrial design, under the slogan of "Fitness for Purpose".
DIA promoted its ideals through lectures, journals and exhibitions. Exhibitions included:
- 1920 Household Things - Whitechapel Gallery, London
- 1942 - 1945 Design Round The Clock - travelling
- 1953 Register your Choice - Charing Cross Underground Station
The journals published varied through the period and included:
- 1932 Design In Industry
- 1933 - 1935 Design for Today
- 1936 Trends in Everyday Life
In its early years there was considerable tension between the attachment of some members to the principals of the Arts and Crafts movement and the desire to promote the clearly 20th-century outlook of the Modern Movement.
Having been heavily involved with the British government's Utility Scheme in the Second World War, DIA had campaigned for the greater involvement of government in the promotion of good design. Ironically, DIA itself was to be somewhat eclipsed by the foundation of the government funded Council for Industrial Design, now the Design Council, in 1944.
Despite the predominance of the Design Council in the latter half of the 20th century, DIA continues its work today as an independent body, organising competitions, events and offering bursaries. In 1978 DIA, together with The Royal College of Art, The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and The Royal Academy of Engineering established the Sir Misha Black Awards to recognise excellence and innovation in design education.
DIA office bearers and members have included some of the most notable 20th-century British designers and manufacturers:
- Lord Aberconway
- Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke
- Sir Misha Black
- Cecil Brewer
- Noel Carrington
- Serge Ivan Chermayeff
- Harold Curwen
- Nanna Ditzel
- Ambrose Heal
- Charles Holden
- Minnie McLeish
- Harry Peach
- Nikolaus Pevsner
- Frank Pick
- Jack Pritchard
- Sir (Sydney) Gordon Russell
- George Wilson-Crowe
- Sir Lawrence Weaver
- Hamilton T Smith [first director of Heals, designer]
"Design and Industries Association." A Dictionary of Modern Design. Oxford University Press, 2004, 2005. Answers.com 13 Oct. 2008. http://www.answers.com/topic/design-and-industries-association
"Nothing Need Be Ugly", The first 70 years of the Design & Industries Association. Plumber, Raymond. DIA London 1985
- Rebels Against Commercial Ugliness, Peyton Skipworth, Apollo Magazine, Jan 2008
- From Solving Problems to Selling Product, Andrew Jackson, University of Brighton
- "Misha Black". University of Brighton Design Archives. University of Brighton. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
- Kirkham, Pat (May 1986). Harry Peach, Dryad and the D.I.A. The Design Council. ISBN 978-0850721775.