The 3,300-member Industrial Designers Society of American is ready to expand outside of North America, as the group has changed its bylaws to allow the creation of international chapters.
One of the first international chapters is in the works in China, a nation striving to move from original equipment manufacturing to original design manufacturing.
Other countries expected to show interest include Brazil and India, said Larry Hoffer, deputy executive director.
Upon the petition of no less than 20 voting members, the bylaws change reads: ``IDSA's board of directors may issue charters establishing an international chapter, defined as one that is located anywhere outside of the United States.''
The bylaws change will not affect IDSA's existing chapter in Alberta, Canada, Hoffer said.
IDSA's opening to international chapters came from both a pull by designers in different parts of the world as well as its U.S. members who want closer contact with the rest of the world, said Tim Fletcher, the group's Hong Kong-based Asia liaison officer.
Fletcher is one of the international designers working to establish a China chapter, which will include mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The China chapter will help bridge designers and education institutions in China and the U.S., as well as designers from different regions within China.
``I have spent the last two years talking to design organizations all over Asia to make sure that IDSA international chapters would not be seen as a competitive or disruptive situation. In all cases I found open arms,'' he noted.
Fletcher, who teaches at Hong Kong Polytechnic University's design school, announced the possibility of an IDSA China chapter at the recent China (Wuxi) International Industrial Design Expo in Wuxi.
Fletcher first discussed the concept publicly in a video interview with Plastics News conducted at IDSA's national conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in mid-September.
Xin Xiangyang, an assistant professor also at Hong Kong Polytechnic's design school, will chair the upcoming China chapter, upon IDSA approval, Fletcher added.
``I am confident that a China chapter will attract and encourage more Chinese designers to be part of this wonderful community,'' Xin said.
Dulles, Va.-based IDSA currently has 21 members in Hong Kong, six on the Chinese mainland, and six in Taiwan.