02-10-2012 - The Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) is the professional association for designers and design agencies in the Netherlands.

The world today is evolving at dizzying speed. In an increasingly digitised society, boundaries between disciplines are fading while new disciplines emerge, and once distant domains are becoming increasingly entwined. The creative industry has been designated a top sector: the design discipline has become indispensable, with designers playing a crucial role in tackling the many issues tied to sustainability, health and social provisions.

The Association of Dutch Designers (Beroepsorganisatie Nederlandse Ontwerpers, BNO) stands in the midst of this evolving world. As the principal representative of the design sector in the Netherlands, it unites designers of all shapes and sizes. They are independent designers as well as design agencies, along with thousands of creative professionals. Virtually all design disciplines are represented in BNO, making it a unique organisation worldwide.

What does BNO do?

BNO supports designers and design agencies in their professional practice. By investing in public information, regulation, research and education, BNO represents the collective interests of the design community and contributes to improving the design infrastructure in the Netherlands and Europe.

Advice and enquiries

Every designer from time to time encounters questions of a business or legal nature. These can concern topical issues such as copyright and intellectual property, or can be about briefings, pitches, selecting a design agency, financial matters. For advice and enquiries, members as well as their clients can call on BNO's legal and business advisers.

Education and development

BNO works with relevant education institutes to help prepare students for professional practice, in part by offering guest lessons. The BNO Academy offers designers the opportunity to further pursue their professional development. With a view to tomorrow's practice, BNO offers training courses and other activities regarding the content of the discipline and entrepreneurial skills. In addition to group trainings there are individual coaching pathways and mentoring programmes offered for and by members. Design agencies can sign up for courses that are tailored to their daily practice.

Information and inspiration

BNO organises seminars, master classes and events. Through diverse publications it probes and discusses important social trends and developments in design. The website serves as a guide and source of information, and as a shared platform for designers, agencies and clients. BNO furthermore publishes the quarterly journal Dutch Designers Magazine Dude, devoted to exploring design practices from a wide variety of perspectives.

Networking and collaboration

BNO's member designers, together with related members such as design managers, jointly represent a gold mine of skills and experience. To encourage mutual interaction and to operate more visibly, regional platforms across the country organise activities where designers of all disciplines can meet to network, to collaborate, to inspire and learn from each other.

Market exploration and trailblazing

BNO plays a pivotal role in promoting design domestically and internationally. BNO informs its members about international entrepreneurship, is involved in the presentation of Dutch designers at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and works closely with international parties that can help highlight Dutch design. Additionally, there is the Starters International Business coaching programme (SIB) to help designers and design agencies pursue their international ambitions.

Representation and lobby

Jointly with relevant national and international organisations, BNO fulfils the indispensable role of tabling issues related to regulations, pitches and tenders, good business practices, copyright and intellectual property rights.

Promotion and public information

BNO informs various parties about the potency and potential of the design discipline. In this way it promotes its members, their work and their added value, and furnishes clients with information on the commissioning and design process.

Research and benchmarking

Every year, BNO publishes the 'Branchemonitor' report with information on industry-wide turnover, corporate results, markets, personnel and costs. The goal is to offer an overview of the size and significance of the design sector, and simultaneously to give the member designers and agencies a means of comparing their own operational management with that of others. BNO also contributes to various other studies that are important to understanding and developing the design discipline.