And no I am not talking about Certified Irrigation Designers – http://www.irrigation.org/certification/CID/CID.aspx

Hopefully PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has convinced you that we need to surrender the term “interior designer” to the innately qualified. If you are not convinced please read this and watch the video;


And we wonder why architects hold us in such low regard…..So the term “interior designer” continues to be used interchangeably with “interior decorator” and in my humble opinion no matter how hard we try that will never change. Like calling a tissue Kleenex, regardless of who made it, interior design will always be inexorably linked to interior decoration and all of its drama, divas and stereotypes. Interior design was cleaved from the bosom of interior decoration- we are forever genetically linked- hard as we try to monkey with the gene pool.

I firmly believe that this identity confusion remains the motivation behind the licensing of interior design (other than those who truly wish to sign and seal permit docs). Wielding a license somehow provides us with a sense of validation. In the absence of an accurate and common public identity that honors our efforts to raise the standards of our profession a license is all we have- unfortunately. As the licensing and regulation effort evolves it is becoming common that each state with ID regulation must refer to those so qualified as either a “registered interior designer” (RID) or a “certified interior designer” (CID).  Some states require that the state be acknowledged in the title such as in Wisconsin where designers are required to call themselves Wisconsin Registered Interior Designer (WRID) unlike neighboring Minnesota where the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design, AKA the Minnesota Board of AELSLAGID for those of you into brevity, requires it’s dues paying members to be simply a Certified Interior Designer or (CID).  Evidently the Minnesota Board of AELSLAGID (excuse my brevity) has not yet been contacted by the lawyers for the Certified Interior Decorators International, Inc. (C.I.D. and the term “Certified Interior Decorator” are a registered trademark filed in Washington, D.C. with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Certified Interior Decorators International, Inc.). This was the case with certified Interior Designers in New Jersey where the CID threated legal action against the CID’s in New Jersey who now must call themselves New Jersey Certified Interior Designers or NJCID’s. Got that? Let me cut to the chase.

Due to the lack of a focused and publicized professional identity we the educated, trained, and certified interior design professionals have no clear identity. Consequently we are burying ourselves in a miasma of different state mandated (CID, RID, State CID’s, State RID’s), half-baked professional credentials (ASID & IIDA) and competing exam credential (NCIDQ® Certificate Number 000000 or IDEX California or CQRID). Not to mention all of the other allied organizations and acronyms that a designer can choose from to communicate their professional status.

It is B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T. and I am tired of it.

After 35+ years of effort to license the title and/or act of interior design we are still no different than any other interior decorator hobbyist or innately talented interior designer and wielding a license does not help. If you can accept that fine (if so you certainly are not reading this blog but go with me here…) if not then we must demand better of our professional organizations.

So here is a thought that will allow ASID and IIDA to continue their disparate representation of the interior design profession vis-a-vis their dues paying members. Since the regulation of interior design affects all of us regardless of our affiliations, I suggest that they relinquish their advocacy of government regulation by creating an independent credentialing, advocacy and licensing entity that would represent only those professionals who wish to pursue voluntary licensure allowing them to practice in codes based (read “commercial”- see my previous post) construction environments as equals to other licensed design professionals (read “architects”). Whether this independent entity/organization also oversees testing and/or accreditation deserves further study. In my opinion the parts are in place. We just need to make better use of them.  If we can muster the fortitude to create such an entity I think coming up with a common name/acronym and brand identity will be the easy part. Such an independent entity would not be beholden to any particular organization, except possibly NCIDQ, and would be better able to provide unified, consistent and much needed leadership for grassroots regulation efforts.

Suffice it to say that ASID and IIDA now realize the benefit of a united front in this regard. It is time to take it to the next level.

P.S. In case you doubt whether we, as a profession, can muster an effective P.R. campaign to promote our true worth to society I worked up the following;

ASID has 30,000 members, IIDA has 13,000 members. 43,000 dues paying members let’s assume 20% students= 34,000 members of which there are a variety of dues amounts from +/- $450.00 for Pros to +/- $265.00 for educators let’s say average $325.00 annual dues from 34,000 members= $11 mill. annually. That assumes that Industry Members are chipping in $325.00 +/- for each of their memberships- Of course there are costs to run these organizations- salaries and O.H. and rent etc. but I gotta believe there could be a well funded P.R. campaing in there somewhere. $11mill. every year……..somebody needs to ask “where’s the beef?”

P.P.S. Speaking of “branding”- http://www.asid.org/custom/thebrandstory/index.asp

10 responses to “ON BEING A C.I.D.”

  1. Sounds like a plan, but it will only work if ASID takes about 50% of the dues they collect and plows it back into marketing the designers they consider to be professional. But what about all of those ASID Allied Members?


  2. Those who invest dues in their professional organizations need to consider the R.O.I. on those dues monies. ASID has a handfull supporting licensure while not excluding or infringing upon the rights of it’s Allied Members.
    I am surprised they have managed to pull it off this long.
    See my P.S. on this thread -THANKS


  3. ASID is completely out of touch with their members. They are lobbying for legislation that directly impacts (harms) their Allied Members. Who are they kidding. In Massachusetts, Allied Members stood up and testified at the State House against “professional” members on a Bill that is in play.

    What’s that about?


    1. If you have issues with state governments enacting legislation to protect consumers from fraud and incompetence then I cannot help you. If you have issues with those interior designers who wish to advance the status of their profession by actually earning such status and then using that hard earned knowledge and experience to be recognized by the state allowing them to compete with other allied licensed design professionals as “REGISTERED INTERIOR DESIGNERS” then I can help you. Read this;
      If you are already an interior designer then please continue to be so- it is a free country. But if you want to compete at higher level with other licensed design professionals then get a degree, apprentice and prove your competence via examination and continuing education and stop bitching about those who freely choose to do so. I know you cannot grasp this particular aspect of life- no it isn’t fair but you clearly have a choice. Seem you’ve chosen the easy way. Sit and bitch about it. Hope you have a cozy chair.


  4. P.S. FYI here is the language from Mass. Senate Bill 1634 that has the innately qualified interior designers in a tizzy.
    “SECTION 1. Section 38A1/2 of chapter 7 of the general laws is hereby amended in l ine 32 by adding the following new paragraph: “or an individual, corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship engaged in the practice of interior design.”

    SECTION 2. Section 38D of chapter 7 of the general laws is hereby amended in line 21 by adding t he following: “, including whether interior designers are eligible to apply, as determined by section 38E.”

    SECTION 3. Section 38E of chapter 7 of the general laws is hereby amended by adding the following:

    “(h) Interior designers may be eligible to compete for those projects where appropriate as the prime consultant. Eligible candidates should demonstrate competence by completion of a nationally recognized certification.”



    One does not demonstrate competence by claiming that they have a flair or a passion. Life does not work that way…..in case you were not aware. Jeeeesh!


  5. Yada Yada:

    How does this Bill advance the profession?

    ASID is wasting their time and (my money)!

    Interior Design for the government is an Oxymoron.

    What are these projects “they” can’t bid on?


  6. Good grief if you don’t get it I can’t help you. I have better things to do with my time…..just painted the living room wall- I think I will go watch it dry.


  7. What happened to this blog? There aren’t any recent posts? I am an NCIDQ certificate holding interior designer. I am not able to use the Certified Interior Designer title as I am in MN…it is a crock of as you put it B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T. I have a BS from U of MN…jumped through the hoops for the NCIDQ and for what… not sure…but I can be a “registered interior designer” in neighboring Wisconsin…really? And Michael, I agree with your last post…I will watch my paint dry as well. Hoping this will get picked up again! I am teetering back and forth about joining ASID but feel I am just paying for my credentials, rather than earning them as I did with the NCIDQ. I would appreciate any feedback.


    1. brynn click on the Page Mast head (PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER)…..I have been posting fairly regularly since “on being a C.I.D.


    2. Hey Brynn I am still here and posting….Minnesota does have title legislation in place see http://www.aelslagid.state.mn.us/

      Not sure why you were unaware of that or maybe you don’t see the value. I know the UofM ID folks are leading the charge up there and if any state is prime for a full practice act is MN.

      Does that help?


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