Throughout my extensive design career I have worked with many different designers or colleagues from different companies or firms. Designers of all talent, schooling and age. From all of these various interactions I can tell you that to say designer’s distrust each other is a understatement. Designer’s are down right cut throat when it comes to sharing, interacting or having an honest discussion about the project at hand.
I think the distrust stems from a sense of protection. Protection of their client, their work and their design abilities.
I have always found it unusual that this is the way our industry works, that designers waste valuable time on jealousy or trying to say negative things about each other. Intellectually I know that much of the reason behind much of the distrust is that it is difficult to measure the quality of a designer just by shaking his or her hand. In fact its difficult to judge the quality of a designer by looking at their portfolio. Portfolio’s can be filled with work that a designer may not have worked on all that much, or worked on as a group. Based upon this it can be difficult to judge how talented a designer is.
The client is often unaware that putting two designers from different agencies, or their internal designer, together to work on a project can often cause major problems for that project. On the other spectrum a client may be too aware of these problems and be fearful of bringing in outside advice from another designer just to keep the status quo.
The design industry is not regulated, and so it is difficult to rank or qualify how well a designer can execute their job, and as a result designers will continue to mistrust each other at their first meetings.