Unfortunately for us, the public perception of interior design is far different than the reality of code-regulated or commercial interior design. So when we stand before a lawmaker or policy maker and we ask them to consider creating a law that regulates the practice of “interior design”, or we are forced to defend existing interior design laws from deregulation efforts, our message is less than cogent and convincing.
UPDATE 5/9/2019 The effort to deregulate the practice of interior design in the State of Florida has been unsuccessful. In other words Florida Registered Interior Designers have won their fight to remain independent of other licensed building design professionals. Below is my original post on the subject. I have noticed an uptick in views over […]
I have spent a lot of bytes on this blog pointing out the drawbacks of relying on Uncle Sam to validate our professional status via title and practice legislation. Unfortunately we tend to lump our decorator vs. designer identity crisis in with the massive effort to gain regulation that codifies our right to work in […]
Deregulation is the current trend in State Houses across the nation. There are many arguments for and against this effort. I am not here to argue the merits of government regulation or the deregulation thereof. Full disclosure- I support a common sense approach to government regulations and yes some regulation is clearly unnecessary but my […]
PENNSYLVANIA PURSUES CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AND REGISTRATION ACT
UPDATE 4/1- This is not an April fools prank: UPDATE 4/13- Florida HB 7047 Amended to remove the deregulation of Florida Registered Interior Designers. Currently Florida House Bill 7047 and Senate Bill 802 which seek to eliminate all legislation and practice rights regarding Florida Registered Interior Design, and the practice thereof, are working their way […]
https://www.facebook.com/Interior-Design-Protection-Council-324844676913/info/?tab=page_info http://www.idpcinfo.org/ PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER will miss Miss Morrow and her Institute for Justice funded campaign to deregulate the profession of Interior Design….NOT.
“…..Yet when it comes to taking action to advance the practice, many designers feel overwhelmed. The entire topic can seem too complicated, too political, too abstract. It doesn’t have to be.”
Hmmmm….now you tell me. Guess it depends on how you define “too”.
Props to IIDA and the IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter for trying to SUCCINCTLY explain the issue of legally and politically advancing the profession and how we might be our own best advocates. I know for a fact that it isn’t easy to distill this issue down to manageable sound bytes or bullet points.
Again for fear of being labeled an arm-chair (albeit ergonomically designed w/ adjustable lumbar support) critic I truly respect the time and effort involved here. I learn from each of these organizational missives…and I also see lot’s of missed opportunities and mixed messages. My first reaction is that it is complicated, it is very abstract to those who care not to understand it, and it is hyper political. I get the soft pitch approach but if you have to sugar coat it to get the message across to your constituents, the ones directly affected, then how do we expect the general public to understand the nuances…..much less care?
Heck we can’t even agree on a definition…..speaking of which I see IIDA is trying to spin a new one;
“WHAT IS INTERIOR DESIGN?
Interior Design is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”
Finally a definition that is less than a chapter and does not require a glossary. Well done!-No seriously this is the best iteration I have seen. I am overjoyed to see the issue of quality of life included. Hallelujah!
My only concern here is the fast and loose use of “Interior Design”. While we all would like “Interior Design” to hold this meaning amongst the general public (AKA our policy makers) I know (IMO) the common use definition of interior design is far from this (see my previous post https://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2014/04/21/pitching-a-new-interior-design-paradigm/) and as long as the public perception blends decoration with design, which it will despite our continued efforts otherwise, the use of Interior Design to describe what we do is a lost cause. Several years ago when I contracted this obsession I assumed we could in fact change the “interior design” paradigm simply by educating the general public…..silly me.
But the legal and political forces, which are onerous and labyrinthine, have convinced me otherwise WE CANNOT CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF “INTERIOR DESIGN” SIMPLY BECAUSE WE SAY IT IS SO. Now if IIDA’s message had begun something like this……
“Code regulated Interior Design is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”
“Interior Design, as practiced by Registered Interior Designers ®, is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”
Now that is a unique definition that by default eliminates any societal cross-over with ‘Interior Design” as performed by those born with a flair or are innately talented self-proclaimed interior designers….which is perfectly legal -and we all know they are the majority here….. I digress. Heck IIDA North Pacific should understand this as their neighbors in Oregon are trying mightily to change the semantic paradigm to be “Commercial Interior Designer” via https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2014R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB1521/A-Engrossed
How is that not politically abstract?
I know we would all like it to be as simple as changing the meaning of “Interior Design” to match IIDA’s definition but even if we all wore that definition on our shirtsleeves (or had custom tee shirts made….note to self-$$$) we cannot possibly overcome the critical mass of popular perception that considers us nothing more than finish pickers and furniture arrangers.
Now the next part of the definition gets even murkier….
“WHAT IS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
An Interior Designer is an individual who has been trained to identify, research and creatively solve problems pertaining to the development of an interior environment, and who possesses the knowledge and skills to implement these solutions. Interior Designers apply their expertise of Design and the built environment to solving problems at the interior scale and at the level of direct human experience.”
Again on the surface this is the best summation of our profession that I have seen. However, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida anybody with a pulse can legally claim the title ‘interior designer” and practice “interior design” despite what IIDA says here. We lost that battle in a very complicated and convoluted legal battle 3 years ago. If the recent ASID ICON article on the future of Interior Design https://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2014/03/19/the-future-of-interior-design/ and this IIDA effort to re-spin the professional validation effort are any indication of lessons learned by the Locke v. Shore debacle we have a very long, very complicated, and very abstract game of softball ahead of us.
Once again folks- WE CANNOT CHANGE THE COMMON DEFINITION (AKA PERCEPTION) OF “INTERIOR DESIGN”, NOR CAN WE INFER, IMPLY OR TACITLY DIRECT, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”.
I am well aware that there are many in the profession that firmly believe that it is possible to instill a societal paradigm shift of their understanding of Interior Design by education (one relative at a time) and lots of behind the scenes lobbying- I wish them well but I have a much different take on this issue……as you may now realize.
If anybody is in Tampa, Florida on November 21st please join us as we gather to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rivergate Tower (formerly NCNB Plaza). I dedicated about 4 years of my life helping to bring this building to fruition. This is the source of PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S well earned cred. More to follow.
My Momma (PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNERMOM) told me to never discuss politics or religion with strangers. Well momma doesn’t read my blog….and besides if you are reading this you and me….we’re kinda friends….maybe….aren’t we? Fortunately the interior design profession’s identity crisis does not involve religion too- can you imagine that discussion. I digress.
Anyone remotely knowledgable of the effort to validate interior design via regulation and legislation cannot deny that this particular model of public outreach is subject to the vagaries of the political winds. Just ask the regulated interior designers in Florida and Virginia if politics plays into their validation efforts. Or ask the Texas interior designers whose title act seems to be up for Sunset deregulation every year….
The hardcore regulationists will argue that it is what it is and we must forge on despite the current legal skirmishes and state deregulation efforts. Well since late in 2008 that may have been a safe assumption….but later this year there may be a rude wake up call to those who invest so much time and effort in the legislative effort.
PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER may be wrong about the assumption that a Romney/Ryan presidency will empower deregulation and anti-regulation efforts but I am willing to take some bets. Anybody game?……….Didn’t think so.
While this is in no way a tacit endorsement of any political party it is a warning to us (we’re all in it together) that having all of our public relations eggs in the legislative basket is just poor strategy.
Could be a very interesting 4 years.