If you have visited PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER.COM before you know that I have a thing for titles and professional recognition…okay it’s an obsession….but if you are back maybe you understand the importance of this issue as it relates to “Interior Design” and our particular identity crisis. I have posted previously on the effort by the lighting design profession to establish a professional credential. Their effort is relevant in that they are a relatively young profession sprung from the rapid specialization, and relative dearth of design sensitivity, within the lighting engineering profession- much like interior design was cleaved from the well established profession of architecture…and its brief dalliance with interior decoration- I digress.
I see many parallels between Interior Design’s effort to establish professional credentials (note I did not say “licensure”) and members of the International Association of Lighting Design’s (IALD) effort to distinguish themselves as a self-regulated professional domain who deserves respect and a place at the proverbial building design profession’s table. We can learn a lot from them. Conversely there are also many things that the lighting designers are doing that are far different than interior designers and our alphabet soup of professional credentials (ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ, AAHID, IDS, CID, RID)…I think they have learned what not to do from us…..but I speculate.
Here is an update to the efforts of the IALD to establish the Certified Lighting Designer (CLD) credential;
Here is the link to the CLD website;
My take away from this effort is that a strategic approach that has a singular and inclusive mission is much more impactful than one that has multiple competing/conflicting interests who seek credentials, private, public, or otherwise, purely to distinguish themselves from each other. Furthermore the CLD seeks to self-regulate in order to achieve professional respect as opposed to utilizing government regulation to gain professional respect. A subtle and oh so misunderstood nuance amongst us professional interior designers. In short theirs is an effort to “certify” and not “license”. The distinction here is critical particularly as it pertains to regulated interior designers effort to validate themselves as a peer profession with other licensed design professionals. As Elizabeth Donoff explains in her update;
“The most commonly mistakenly interchanged terms are the difference between licensure and credentialing, and the distinction is a very important one to make. A license allows someone to practice a profession in a particular state and is governed by health and safety issues. Credentialing, on the other hand, is a “method for maintaining quality standards of knowledge and performance, and in some cases, for stimulating continued self improvement. Credentialing confers occupational identity.”
In my bumble opinion the profession of Interior Design has spent the last 35 years trying to confer its occupational identity with a license. My hat’s off to the IALD task force for making this nuance clear and starting with establishing a clear identity based on performance and not the simply leaping for the brass ring of licensure.
Unfortunately it is too late for us (the regulated profession of interior design) to go back to our roots so to speak and rethink out path to societal respect and then pursual of licensure. But it isn’t too late to think about how we proceed from this point forward.