So now that Florida has lowered the bar for who can call themselves an Interior Designer (back where it started) what do we do now?

Well if you have been reading my rants you will note that I do not support government regulation as a means to sort out the qualified from the unqualified.  Which in fact is the end result of a “title act” or 95% of the regulation that is currently in place. 36 years of effort on the part of numerous volunteers and copious amounts of membership fee money has gone into this effort- and all we can claim is tenuous title restrictions in less than 1/2 of the country. THINK ABOUT THIS PEOPLE! If this were a business model for public relations the plug would have been pulled years ago. 

IT IS BROKE!  And it ain’t gonna fix itself. 

Am I a traitor?…Am I a heretic?…Am I daft?  Maybe I am all three- all the more reason to keep amusing yourself- Hang in there.

SO I BITCH AND MOAN but I, unlike others, have a plan. So that gives me a pass on the bitching and moaning doesn’t it? If you consider that the NCIDQ/CIDA based education, experience and examination model is our brand….yes let’s start thinking of this as a business model…it is the 2000’s after all. Anyway our brand is actually a hybrid of “interior design”. It is not “interior design” yet is not “interior architecture”(that is another story). It is a specialized branch of interior design. It is ours. We created it. We gave it knowledge and ethics and standards. But we have failed to promote its value to society.

Ask any Joe or Jane on the street what the first thing they think of when they hear the term “interior design” and we all know it won’t go like this…

Ahem…well yes an interior designer is a uniquely qualified professional that creates interior environments that protect the health, safety and welfare of the users”

And unless that is the common perception of the CIDA/NCIDQ certified interior designer we will never I repeat NEVER achieve full practice regulation in every state and territory in the Union. En Ee Vee Ee Are!

Back to my solution. We (NCIDQ/CIDA/IDEC at a minimum) need to create an independent entity that oversees a trademarked/copyrighted credentialing process for those who have completed the education, experience and examination requirements to take and pass the NCIDQ  (if ASID and IIDA want to paticipate they will have to do so 50/50- no more favoritism or partisan political posturing in the guise of the representing the entire profession…yet another story). If we consider our intellectual and financial invesment in the government regulation effort to date (no really think about it- 36+ years) this is not so much of a reach.

So once a person has achieved this legally recognized level of professional qualification they become certified or accredited..I don’t care which but we need to create a copyrighted/trademarked professional status that clearly sets us apart from the general interior designer. This is a way to sort out the qualified from the unqualified. Numerous other professions already employ this model. If somebody claims to be a Certified Interior Designer Professional (CID is already claimed ) and they fail to present the proper credentials then the credentialing body sues them. Wham bam thank you mam! This is after all what most of us want. We want a level of respect for our investment in our careers and our profession. Unfortunately most of us think this is the government’s role. It is not. Just look at the title act in California if you want to be dissuaded by the government’s ability to protect our rights

We have got to stop using the government to protect our brand. We are responsible for it not the state and not Uncle Sam. Once we have cleaned up our own profession and clearly promoted its unique value to society, be that by Health Safety and Welfare or some other regulatory paradigm, so that any Jane or Joe on the street understands what our value to society is then maybe we will have a shot at pursuing practice protection. 

Convince me otherwise- I dare ya.


  1. I totally agree with your option…

    The term “interior designer” is far too diverse for anyone or any organization to brand as a single entity! This has been an issue with the interior design professional organizations (IIDA, ASID) for decades. While doing a pretty good job as a vehicle for continued education they have always struggled with branding or marketing the term interior designer. In an effort to support the needs and asperations of ALL of their constituancy they have deluted the message to a point where all interior designers in all aspects of the dicipline are percieved as the same. …we all know that is NOT the case.
    Why would/should we rely on State Legislators to Register, Regulate and Discipline a profession with such a broad spectrum of diversity? It’s not possible!

    So…. Where do we go from here?
    Who’s in and who’s out?
    What knowledge-base defines this

    What do you call this new professional? Do we dare associate their name with the perceptional stigma of “Interior Designer”? …or even Architect for that matter!

    It is definately time to move forward with the combined efforts of Professional Interior Designers and Design Educators to carve out a new profession that meets the future with a knowledge-base that is un-matched by any dicipline associated with the built environment.
    I truly believe that this knowledge-base is already there but is immediately deluted with a Century of baggage associated with carpet-bag toting interior decorators and home decorating venues on HGTV.

    You want to take this somewhere?

    I’m in……!!


    1. I am still thinking……We have a strong brand but absolutely no brand identity. That is the key. The question is can NCIDQ, CIDA and IDEC create enough momentum to change the paradigm from government regulation to an internal self directed effort. We obviously need the support of ASID and IIDA but given the disparate party platforms and agendas I am not sure how that would work. Anyway we have a group of 2…that’s a start.


  2. First step is to convince the collective profession (NCIDQ certified designers) that expecting the government to sort us out is not the best model for advancing the status of the profession….at least not yet. I am glad that you see where I am going with this. I sometimes feel like I am the only one who thinks the current model has failed.


  3. I keep going to the United States Green Building Council’s model for credentialing those that are LEED accredited and those that are not.

    They have done a remarkable job in developing their model in a very short time. NCIDQ certified interior designers could certainly distinguish themselves from interior decorators and non-certified interior designers if we would just make our brand and promote it. Keep Uncle Sam out of it.

    What am I missing here?


  4. So here is a building design professional credential I have never heard of……

    who have developed a testing organization to adminster a test to qualify for AIBD credentials;

    I wonder what the AIA has to say about this group? Seems they are more of a threat to the AIA turf than us little old interior designers.


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