Tag: National Council for Interior Design Qualification

“INTERIOR DESIGN LICENSE AND REGISTRATION PLEASE…..”

COPAP/Rich Pedroncelli

But…But Officer I’m Not a Licensed Interior Designer

While there may be a few egalitarian designers out there who do NOT recognize the value of job titles, professional credentials or licensure – reality tells us that labels are a fact of life. What we call ourselves, how we label our work, and how we distinguish our personal occupational pathway is not only important to us and our egos it is also important to our professional domain and ultimately to society in general. For most of us – our jobs are who we are.  Our job’s define us and most of us do care how those jobs are perceived by the rest of society.  There is an entire field of science that deals with such identity constructs but Oen and Cooper¹ provide the most pertinent take away;

“Labels can serve well only if there are common definitions of terms and widespread association of a given label with a given set of activities. One who performs surgical procedures on humans , for example,  is labeled a surgeon.  For professional identity, such clarity of understanding is essential.”

My point here is that the profession of interior design (educated/trained/certified) has an identity crisis.  Our “label” is fuzzy at best.  If you do not understand please see my previous 340 posts on the subject.  My entire reason for this blog is to ponder how interior design professionals present our value to society and how we advance our profession in a world that is becoming exponentially more complex and competitive.

Unfortunately many of my peers believe that the most impactful way to advance the interior design profession is by regulating the title or the practice of interior design.  Meaning that if one has a license, one is automatically afforded a level of respect via a general understanding of our value to society and, voila, our identity crisis is solved.  Well…..no that is not how it works.  That is not how any of this works.

I acknowledge that there are a few code regulated interior designers who understand that regulating our profession is  fundamentally about our right to work in an economic sense and they are right. Their focus is the pursuit of regulation and licensure none the less.  Same objective…just different motives.

How do you advance the interior design profession via laws and regulations when many members of the interior design profession do not care to actually advance it?

Okay if you are scratching your head over that one let me explain.

Given that the humans have evolved to become essentially an “indoor species” that spends 90%+/- of its collective time in man-made shelter it baffles me that interior designers are not looked upon and sought out as essential contributors to the betterment of the quality of our indoor based lives and livelihoods.  I understand that humans are fundamentally adaptable and that our collective standards as to what constitutes suitable indoor living/working environments have evolved over time.  Generally, if it keeps us warm, dry, and relatively safe we call it “good” -no highfalutin design types are needed.  An oversimplification?  Of course.  I also acknowledge that not all human society has advanced in unison for reasons way beyond the scope of this argument but work with me here….I am trying to make a point.

While we have pretty much left dwelling in caves behind us, I think we can all agree that our standards for the quality and functionality of our interior environments could use some improvement.

So this is where the profession of interior design as defined here comes in….right?

Well if you believe that to be true- then WHY when most people are asked “what is interior design” or “what do interior designers do”, do they most likely think of this? ;

design-pencil-color-pallette-590kb071910
Lucidio Studio, Getty Images

Why is it that when most people in the civilized world fall ill they seek and respect the opinion of licensed medical professionals?  And when most people in the civilized world wish to build shelter for living or working they seek and respect the guidance of licensed contractors, engineers and architects.  However, when those same people find the need to ensure that the interior environments of those shelters are safe, functional, and are designed to improve the quality of their lives and/or livelihoods there is no clear go-to professional. That is not to say that everybody needs to hire a full-time-on-call-certified interior designer professional to “design” their every spatial need but when the need does present itself the public appears confused.  It is a challenge for event the most seasoned authorities of interior spatial needs to sort through the options. Seems to me that is both a problem and an opportunity for the actual profession of “Interior Design”.

There is no question that the market is there.  Yet the general public still cannot determine the difference between an innately qualified interior decorator posing as “designer” whose specialty is creating custom cashmere pillows for the uber-wealthy and a certified interior designer whose career specialty may be as complex as the overall design of the dementia treatment center that some of us may live out our final days…..depressing thought? Well yeah…but point made hopefully.

This fuzzy delineation of  interior design by its nature includes a large number of residential interior decorators and non-code regulated interior designers that have no interest in pursuing legislation that would allow them to practice as peers with, or independent of, licensed building design professionals.  In other words residential interior designers (AKA decorators) who do not practice in code regulated construction and design environments could care less about regulating the profession of interior design.  They have no desire to practice as peers with, or independent of, our allied licensed building design professions.  I will admit that I have no facts to back up that statement….other than 35+ years of experience watching the profession of interior design suffer through the misinformed stereotypes imposed by interior decorators proclaiming themselves to be “interior designers” and their work as “interior design”.  Pursuing regulation and obtaining a license to practice is the furthest thing from their daily occupational or career objectives.  In fact many of them have campaigned against any efforts by our profession to pursue regulation.  They actually see it as a threat. Yet our professional organizations still welcome their participation and dues monies.  Another story.  I digress.

Okay that is one group of interior designers that stands in the way of our advancement via regulation.

At the other end of the interior design professional spectrum is an influential and rapidly growing cadre of interior designers who are intentionally disavowing themselves of the label interior designer in favor of the more revered title of interior architect.  In other words these interior designers have simply abandoned the title “interior designer”.  They no longer wish to be subject to the stereotypes (if you need to know what those are please see my previous 320 posts) and despite the ethical and legal issues inherent in adopting a title of another licensed and regulated profession, more and more interior designers are bailing on the label “interior design”.  They do not see any value, or any future, in interior design as it is commonly understood by society.  If you have to ask how this semantic word play actually hinders interior design’s ability to achieve legal parity with other licensed building design professionals I really cannot help you.  The implications should be obvious.

So if you still think that all “Interior Designers” are all-in and on the same page regarding the effort to pursue a “license” please think again.  Another educated guess on my part but I am fairly certain that the number of interior designers who could care less about licensure far outnumbers the number of interior designers who do see value in a license, be that for the label cache’ or to actually practice independent of architects.  Which is another aspect of our misguided profession…many of us do not even know the difference between a certificate and a license.  I digress again.

To make the numbers even worse… somewhere in the middle of our vast professional domain (between the “I could care less about a license” residential decorator and the actual practicing licensed interior designer) are numerous legitimate/certified interior design professionals who are gainfully employed by licensed architecture or engineering firms.  While they may be highly qualified via certification, and may practice at the highest levels of the building design profession…they too have no immediate need for a license.  Why would they when they work for  licensed design practices that assumes that liability?  So be it out of fear of competing with one’s employer (usually an architect) or simple comfort with the status quo these designers care little to enlist in the effort to advance the profession via regulation.  I understand…I used to be one of these don’t rock the boat types?

Guess I fell out of that canoe.

Have I convinced you that the numbers simply do not work in the favor of those who are all-in the effort to pursue licensure for the profession?  None of us really know the actual number of interior designers who are investing copious amounts of effort to regulate the profession vs. those who claim the title of “interior designer” yet stand down on any effort to advance the profession and clarify our label.  Yet we continue to invest untold amounts of dues monies, time, blood sweat and tears into this very narrow objective.  We should all question the return on that investment and I should stop here.

But let’s assume for sake of my rant that every ‘Interior Designer” in North America supported the profession’s pursuit of government regulation that allowed them to hold a license to practice code regulated interior design.  Let’s say there are about 73,000² of us, for the sake of this argument, and we are all united under one organizational umbrella, we are all NCIDQ certified (or in pursuit thereof), we self-regulate via a North American Board/Council³, society grants us a level of respect similar to Architects and Engineers, and we are able to hire the best lobbyists nationwide.  73,000 members is a sizeable profession and would be a force for state and provincial legislators to reckon with. For comparison the AIA has 90,000+/- total members.  EDIT UPDATE 10/3017 THIS JUST IN FROM INTERIOR DESIGN MAGAZINE….THERE ARE ACTUALLY 112,000 INTERIOR DESIGNERS OUT THERE……Hmmmmm

With that we should be able to muster a successful campaign to implement legislation in many, if not all, states and provinces that would grant us a license to practice as peers with, or independent of, our allied licensed building design professionals.  Well I have more bad news for those of you who have bought into my hypothesis and are still reading this lengthy diatribe……there is a larger and seemingly more intractable force that stands in the way of this pursuit of government regulation and licensure real or otherwise.

The sociopolitical tides against occupational regulation are growing with each passing session of state and federal government.  While the effort may be rooted in Libertarian ideals, the notion actually crosses over into all political parties and few can argue that we in the states are over-regulated.  Well okay, there are probably a few licensed florists, auctioneers, and sports agents that might argue for needless regulation, but common sense tells us that much of what is included in the latest effort to reassess occupational licensure is true.  In this age of anti-everything the tide against regulation is growing and marginally defined occupations such as Interior Design remain in the cross-hairs http://licensure.rethinkwhy.org/

So fellow designers if we are going to rely on legislation and licensure to pull us out of our professional identity crisis we  must position code regulated interior design so that it fails the questionable regulation sniff test.  And we must do it YESTERDAY!

“But……but…PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER if the numbers really are not on our side and our own government is skeptical of our right to regulation what can we do to fundamentaly advance the profession of code regulated Interior Design?”

Funny you should ask.

I have actually thought about this.  Here is my outline of a plan that in the coming months will help me provide a framework for your consideration.

“Seems pretty arrogant of you PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER. You are not the boss of me or Interior Design…….Who do you think you are?”  

Well okay why don’t you tweet me your plan then and I will be happy to post it here…..plus you have read this far into my latest diatribe cut me some slack and read on.

STEP #1

The profession has to muster its collective courage, creative problem solving skills, and intellectual capacity to address the disparity between those interior designers who do not practice in code regulated building design environments and those who are educated/trained/certified to practice in code regulated design environments.

If step one does not happen the following points are moot. But let’s assume the best.

STEP #2

The profession must better define itself and promote that message to the public

STEP #3

We must all understand that certification is NOT the same as a license.

STEP #4

We must recognize that certification is a means, or a tool, to self-regulate the profession (see point one above) not solely a means to a license

STEP #5

Licensure is a right to work issue based on proven abilities to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and NOT a means to validate the profession.

STEP #6

Licensure is a political and legal quagmire that we are not prepared yet…to realize substantive success. 

STEP #7

The interior design academy and the regulatory agencies of the profession need to better collaborate to shift the culture of the code regulated interior design profession.

STEP #7

We need one professional membership organization

STEP #8

We need one national (or U.S./Canada) council to oversee regulatory efforts of the profession³

Still here?  Thank you.  Check back later and I will elaborate on the above.

NOTES:
  1. Oen, Carol; Cooper, Marianne.  Professional Identity and the Information Professional, Journal of the American Society for Information Science (1986-1988); Sep 1988; 39, 5;ABI/INFORM Collection pg. 355
  2. This number includes ASID’s 13,500 members, IIDA’s 15,000 members, IDC’s (Canada) 5,000 members in total.  I also include an additional 40,000 certified interior designers that are unaffiliated with any professional membership organization. Myself for example.
  3. For those of you who have been around awhile….this idea may sound familiar.  An influential group of contract interior designers created The Governing Board for Contract Interior Design Standards in the mid 1980’s.  This group was a voluntary certification board with no real regulatory influence and disbanded in 1999 due to lack of inertia and support from the larger profession.  So please do not tell me this label confusion is a new problem.

 

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REGULATION & THE DECORATOR vs. DESIGNER TITLE MATCH

WWE-Triple-Threat-Tag-Title-Match,-RLA-Melb-10.11.2007

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 code regulated building design environments.  This broad objective for legislation causes confusion among our policy makers and raises the ire of those who feel that we are infringing on their rights to practice as interior designers.

While some see the effort to advance the profession using government regulation as the only path to distinguishing the qualified, ( earned credentials from “NCIDQ Certified” to “Licensed” to “State Registered Interior Designer/RID” to “State Certified/CID” to “ASID/IIDA/IDC/ARIDO etc”) from those who are unqualified (“Hmmm my Mom tells me I have a flair for color and I feel like being an Interior Designer today!”), I maintain that it is our responsibility to enforce the distinction.

We have to prove to Uncle Sam that we are serious about our right to work in code regulated design environments with other licensed design professionals before we can expect his full attention and respect.

In other words, it is not Uncle Sam’s (or Mother Canada’s- for our Northern neighbors) job to distinguish Interior Designers from interior decorators.  Unfortunately this common perception that interior decoration and Interior Design are interchangeable is the bane of our effort to advance the code regulated aspect of the profession. How much time have you spent trying to explain the difference between interior decoration and Interior Design?  Frankly the differences are so subtle that it is virtually impossible to educate the uninformed in an elevator pitch.  Hell I have been doing this 35+ years and I have trouble defining the nuances in way that succinctly defines our differences.  We need to stop with the academic and abstract explanations and start citing tangible and justifiable examples.

Regrettably,  for the vetted design professional, anybody can call themselves an “Interior Designer” and no amount of legislation and regulation will change that. So how do we earn respect as regulated design professionals whose primary focus is the health, safety and well-being of our clients, if others continue to blur the distinction between vetted design professionals and those who decorate and claim to be “professional” or “certified” when they are not?

Whose job is it to make sure the code regulated Interior Design professional domain is clearly defined and defended?

The answer is that it is up to us to make sure those who claim to be “qualified”, “certified”, “registered”, “professional” and most definitely “credentialed” are in fact what they claim.  While it may seem elitist or protectionist to police such claims it is essential if we want to add value to our conflicted and contested profession.

We have to ask ourselves “can the general public understand and respect the difference between someone who claims to be an “Interior Designer” and someone who claims to be a “Certified Interior Designer”…particularly when they are practicing in a state that does not have title legislation in place?

I find the efforts of the Certified Financial Planners to promote their message of qualification to the general public extremely relatable.  The CFP board seems to be focused and proactive in this regard.  The CFP enforcement of professional standards is admirable. Their national campaign to help the general public understand the nuances between a financial planner and a Certified Financial Planner are quite effective in my humble opinion;

 

Keep in mind  that it is a violation of professional ethics (ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ) to claim you have achieved professional status, or earned professional certification, within those organizations, when you have not.  That line is typically very clear and inarguable.  Of course there are many other forms of “certification” and many ways to define “professional” but to claim you are a member of the profession it is easy to confirm- or should be.

We need to do more of this self-policing and we need to start calling out the violators wherever and whenever we can.  We failed to take ownership of the title “Interior Design” in the courts but it is not illegal to begin a campaign to redefine Interior Design by shifting public perception…..or helping people understand what it is not.

Case in point.  We have all witnessed the evolution of on-line design service providers…much to our chagrin.  Laurel and Wolf Interior Design seems to be one site that has gained traction in the competitive dotcom decorator posing as designer foray.  I appreciate the convenience for those who have the money to spend on interior decorator services and I appreciate the fact that many interior designers and decorators can earn income from this site.  We should not denigrate them but we certainly can differentiate by countering their claims.

So is this really “Interior Design“?  And are Laurel and Wolf’s “top designers” actually “certified” Interior Designers?

Well in my not so humble opinion NO- it is not “Interior Design”. This site is clearly about “Interior Decoration”  and is in fact the epitome of decoration (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Let’s start calling it what it is…a website that promotes residential interior decoration. Again not that there is anything wrong with that.

To the more important question of certification or qualification…… Let’s just say that Laurel and Wolf plays fast and loose with the idea of “Certified” designers.  Many of the designer profiles do not have any certification at all and several list unaccredited degree and academic certificates of dubious origin as confirmation of being “certified” Interior Designers.  A degree is not the same as being “certified”…that is a big stretch.

Let’s start reporting those individuals who may be bending the truth about their real “certifications”.  ASID/IIDA/NCIDQ should all have easily accessible rosters of current/active dues paying members so we can confirm false claims of professional or associate membership where that applies.  With that they should also be able to enforce their membership rules.

Other cases in point. Here are a few more examples of individuals, companies and trade practices that need to be continually called out for dubious if not deceptive portrayal of professional code regulated Interior Design services and/or interior decoration presented as Interior Design.  Again I appreciate the fact that companies and people need to earn a living but to claim you are doing something you are not is unacceptable and compromises my ability to gain respect for my skills and for accredited Interior Design students to justify their significant tuition investment.

Ethan Allen’s “Free Design Services”   Our design knowledge should not be free.  Don’t even get me started on trade only pricing practices.  Ethan Allen is free to run their business however they see fit.  However, we are also free to use their questionable ethics as an example of who we are not and what we refuse to do.

“Designer” Showhouses…they are decorator showhouses…period. Let’s start calling them what they are.

Kwikie design diploma or certificate courses promising successful careers as certified “Interior Designers”.  They aren’t and they don’t!  We have to have the collective fortitude to defend the term and title of interior design particularly when an on-line decorator certificate mill makes the following claim;

‘This online interior design course is a comprehensive program that will teach you everything you need to know to become a professional interior designer.’

Again it isn’t and it will not.  If nothing else we can help unsuspecting decorator wannabe’s understand that they are being mislead.  If we do not set their record straight, these decorator mills will simply continue to produce interior decorators who are empowered to misrepresent the profession of “Interior Design”.

Finally our professional membership organizations must do a better job of holding their professional members to the highest standards.  Again I fully respect a designer/decorator’s right to make a living and their freedom to self promote..but if you are going to sell pillows please understand that your message has broader implications for our effort to combat certain stereotypes.  I am sure this will tick a few folks off….I accept that…cue the criticisms.

We have to stop being concerned who we are upsetting….if they are clearly in the wrong then let’s diplomatically help them understand the errors of their ways.  We have to stop trying to be everything to everybody.  We have to accept being offensive so we can stop being defensive.

Or maybe…..just maybe I need to heed the advice of drag star and renown interior designer Ru Paul and stop taking this stuff so seriously;

AD: Would you say that drag influences your interior design sense?

RuPaul: Absolutely! Yes! Drag is all about reminding people to not take life too seriously. Our goal, our mission, is to say: This body you’re in is temporary. Have fun with it. Dress it up. Use all the colors in the rainbow. It’s there to enhance your experience. You are God, for lack of a better term, experiencing humanity. Have fun with it. Don’t hurt anybody else. Don’t take it too seriously.

(image: By jjron (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons )

 

 

HOW DO WE REMOVE INTERIOR DESIGN FROM THE DEREGULATION HIT LIST?

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 specific bone to pick is…….

Why does the regulation of Interior Design continue to be equated with other questionable licensed/regulated occupations and professions?

In case you are unsure what my problem (among many) is let’s look at Florida House Bill #7047 which began working its way through the approval process in Tallahassee this spring.  This broad brush anti-regulation bill lumps the practice of state registered Interior Design with hair & body wrappers, auctioneers, and boxing timekeepers among other “why the heck do you need a license to do that?” laws.

To wit;

HB 7047: Deregulation of Professions and Occupations

GENERAL BILL by Careers and Competition Subcommittee ; Beshears

Deregulation of Professions and Occupations; Removes regulations on specified DBPR professions, including labor organizations, auctioneers & auction businesses, talent agencies, hair braiders, hair wrappers & body wrappers, interior designers, & boxing timekeepers & announcers;

 

Licensed boxing announcers?  Really? Hair braiders…………Whaaaat?

If you have been following how the profession of Interior Design has been attempting to advance itself by pursuing title and practice legislation for the past 45+/- years you know that the current deregulation effort in Florida is not the first such effort to “free up the market” by singling out those occupations, the regulation of which, might just be prime examples of government over-reach.

But licensed body wrappers?  Really? I don’t even know what that is…..

Licensed yacht brokers…..seriously?  If you are rich enough to afford a yacht you are rich enough to hire an attorney….that is if you are not already one.  I digress.

Again this is not the first time ID has been used as a prime example of government regulation run amok.  In fact I would say that the Institute for Justice has made regulated Interior Design the poster child for government regulation as an impediment to their free market/free trade ideals.

CASE IN POINT (posted 4/26/17- how timely) https://spectator.org/patent-trolls-dont-care-about-the-law/ 

This is not to say that the profession has not attempted to counter the anti-regulationist campaign to slander our profession.  There have been numerous attempts by the Interior Design academy to correct the record, most notably Caren Martin’s tit for tat debates with the Institute for Justice and our professional membership organizations have also stepped up their advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession.  IIDA recently addressed the issue of deregulation here and I know that ASID is investing numerous resources to extinguish deregulation fires across the nation, not to mention assisting newly introduced bills aiming to codify the practice of Interior Design.

But on goes the campaign to malign and deregulate Interior Design -apparently unabated.

Before I continue with my rant it is important to note that on the positive news front, as of April 20th, and due to a great amount of lobbying and education on the part of a lot of dedicated advocates for the profession of Interior Design in Florida, Interior Design has been removed from the list of targeted occupations to be summarily deregulated….for now ( http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/7047/ByVersion)

So what is my gripe?………Did you read the heading to the original bill above?

WHY THE HELL CAN’T WE MUSTER ENOUGH SOCIETAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING TO AVOID THE CONTINUAL STEREOTYPICAL CATEGORIZATION OF THE PROFESSION OF CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AS AN “OCCUPATION” NOT WORTHY OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION?

Now if you are still here….you may be saying “give it time-interior design is a young profession” or “we need to help educate our friends, relatives, and clients as to the true value we can bring to the table”.  Come on!  We have been a legitimate profession for about 40 years. We improve the lives and livelihoods of people everyday.  Our work has significant impact on the health, safety and welfare of the public 24/7/365…..ask any Architect who has signed and sealed our drawings for permit.

So I think the above question is legitimate.  I do hope you ask it with a bit more discretion but you need to ask it….ask the leaders of your professional organizations, ask your teachers, ask your mothers….after all she should know right?

P.S. EDIT 4/27:  I am going to answer my own question here;

http://www.delaware1059.com/lifestyles/entertainment/caitlyn-jenner-praises-kris-jenner-s-eye-for-interior-design/article_f82e7220-9a1b-51a3-8e34-d2b059cf0771.html

…….her eye for interior design….her eye…for interior design………..Good grief.

Well heck if all it takes is an eye…then no wonder we cannot convince policy makers we are serious about being granted a license to practice interior design……do you see where I am going with this?

P.P.S. EDIT 4/28: Warmed my heart to see this ray of hope…an Interior Designer takes lead on a major historic adaptive reuse project…

http://www.fox4news.com/news/248120334-story

If only we, the profession of regulated Interior Design, could get this kind of exposure everyday on every channel….maybe….just maybe…we could overcome our identity crisis….some call me a dreamer.

P.P.P.S. EDIT 4/28: Just when I thought things were looking up for the perception of “Interior Design” we get relegated to “on call shopper status”…… 

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/bdc-designer-on-call-service-offers-personal-shopping-interior-design-help/

the brief moment of hope was nice….back to my regularly scheduled program of disrespect and typecasting.

PENNSYLVANIA PURSUES CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AND REGISTRATION ACT

While much of the profession is watching the current effort in Florida to deregulate that state’s Interior Design practice legislation, Pennsylvania Interior Designers, as represented by the Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania, have submitted an Interior Design Registration Bill.  As of April 7th,  Pennsylvania House Bill #1102 has been referred to the Professional License Committee and as of April 19th is not scheduled for further action.  At this point no news is good news given the debacle in Florida.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER appreciates IDLCP’s efforts to distinguish “Code Regulated” Interior Design(ers) from those Interior Designers who do not practice in code regulated building design environments.  The inclusion of the term”Code Regulated” provides policy makers with a defacto distinction between those Interior Designers whose work is primarily decoration, thereby avoiding the building permit process, and those whose work truly impacts the Health Safety and Wellbeing of the public.  Previous attempts at framing this distinction have devolved into designer vs. decorator hissy fits prompting some coalition lobbyists to include terms such as “Commercial” Interior Design in their bill language.  But even then it is possible to perform interior design services in a commercial setting without triggering the necessity to obtain a building permit.  Semantics!

It’s all about that damn building permit and who is truly qualified to submit the required documents to obtain local jurisdictional approval to assume ownership and liability for one’s own design work.  More on that point later.

Good luck Pennsylvania…..we need a win.  If you are interested in helping or getting involved with the effort in Pennsylvania contact;

Angela Leigh Novalski, NCIDQ, LEED AP
Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania
Executive Board Secretary
609-820-5977
angela.leigh@cbre.com

MORE INFORMATION HERE: http://mailchi.mp/132c72276d1f/pa-hb1102-know-the-facts?e=[UNIQID]

HOW DO YOU BECOME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

Seems straightforward enough.  I can imagine lots of high school students or 2nd career seekers asking this question.

Of course there are lots of legitimate resources available to those who are curious, books (those things in “libraries” and “book stores”), guidance counselors, friends of friends, etc. But PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is fairly certain that the world wide intrawebanet is your #1 go-to resource for this query.

So if you Google that question you will be bombarded with 3.6 million options. HOW THE HELL CAN THERE BE 3 MILLION WAYS TO BECOME AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”?  I digress.

For reference the general query “How do you become an Architect” results in 15+ million hits…but who’s counting?

Visiting and reading all of those sites just overwhelmed me. I made it through 2.2 million but had to take a bathroom break.  So being the hardcore scholarly researcher that I am I went to YouTube to watch a video on how to become an Interior Designer.   Let’s face it, that is most likely how all prospective Interior Designers seek out answers to this question. So my next level of investigation was to see which videos had the most hits.  Because is that not the true test of a video’s legitimacy?  Sorting by viewer count this is the winner with 176,811 views in just under 4 years;

Just to break it down that is nearly 44,000 views per each of 4 years this video has been online.  Kudos to Ms. Robeson.  If you care about such things she has created quite a on-line presence with her decorating posing as design DIY videos.  My point here is not to impugn Ms. Robeson.  Her entrepenuerial skills are quite admirable.

It is clear that Ms. Robeson caters to the innately qualified who wish to claim the title ‘Interior Designer” without consideration for such pesky things like….oh…an education, or an apprenticeship, earning credentials via an examination (of any type) or committing to ethical practice by membership in any one of our many professional organizations.  But that is her right.  She can do that and she does it well.  But 44,000 views per year?  Back to my point.

For those of us who claim the title “Interior Designer” by earning a degree, working as an apprentice, studying our butts off for any number of professional competency examinations and paying copious amounts of dues monies to our professional organizations I wonder how our effort to define that path to the title “Interior Designer” compares.  How do our “How To” videos rate on the viewership scale?  After all do we not want our pathway to status as an “Interior Designer” to be equally recognized?

That is somewhat of rhetorical question because the domain of “Interior Designer” is so broad-much to our chagrin.  Just because we say it is one thing, that does not mean that the public perception of “Interior Design” matches our particular definition http://www.ncidqexam.org/about-interior-design/definition-of-interior-design/.  Try as we might to make “Interior Design” match the above definition PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER maintains (see previous 300+ posts) that we have lost that battle.  But let’s not get too off topic here.  The focus here is how those who seek a career in Interior Design actually find their way through the labyrinth of potential pathways.

So if go to YouTube and type in “How do I become  an Interior Designer?” you will note that not one video represents what we professional interior designers might consider legitimate or professional.  Most are independent DIY’s or for profit schills..ooops sorry I meant “schools”, all trying to persuade the inquisitive to their website.  Actually one of the most informative and relevant videos that tries to answer the basic query was created by an Interior Design student;

Kudos to Ms. Paterson.  She has 26,000 + hits in one year.  Wow.

Makes me wonder why, with all of our resources, that the profession as represented by  ASID, IIDA, IDEC, CIDA, NCIDQ, IDC, CCIDC, IDEX, cannot create a video resource that will help direct the inquisitive down the path to professional status as a “Interior Designer?”.

You know one that matches the Interior Design we proclaim to practice.

Maybe we could pool our marketing budgets and hire Ms. Paterson.

P.S. 8/5/16- Hmmmm.  Here is an answer from Ireland for what it’s worth;  http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/how-to-become-an-interior-designer-1.2745009

P.S. 11/18/16 Here is how to do it in 4 SIMPLE STEPS….http://careerswiki.com/how-to-become-an-interior-designer/#prettyPhoto 

P.S. 11/30/16 Can’t argue with these tips…http://freshome.com/2014/10/13/10-things-you-should-know-about-becoming-an-interior-designer/

ID REGULATION: WHICH WAY TO THE FRONT?

I appreciate Robert Nieminen’s support of the ongoing effort to regulate the profession of Interior Design . I agree with all of his points regarding the unification of the profession and the efforts by the anti-regulation contingent to stop any and all ID legislation.  As far as Utah’s new ID practice law we can claim it as a battle won but I am concerned by his broad brush definition of “Interior Design Laws of North America” as represented by this map (source unknown-attribute to Interiors & Sources) Sorry the resolution is limited.

I_0316_robblog2

(Attributed to Interiors & Sources?)

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER would like to see such graphic depictions of our efforts to regulate the profession truly represent those laws that allow qualified Interior Designers to practice to the fullest extent of their abilities.  That includes the ability to sign and seal documents to legally obtain building permits as necessary to fully own one’s design work.  While it looks more impressive to apply a color to all states with some form of Interior Design law or act in place, when you actually consider our right to work as peers with or independent of other licensed design professionals in each of these states the battle field is far less impressive.  And let’s not forget our allies in Canada who have their own similar battles.

LegislativeMap

Color in Utah green-yeah! But read the Utah bill and consider that it does sanction the title “Commercial Interior Design” and the ID scope is limited. A victory none the less.

We have to stop depicting any and all ID legislation as legislation that is good for the entire profession (it isn’t) one, and two, we have stop looking at ID Regulation as nothing but a means to distinguish us from the unqualified decorator wannabe’s. That is a battle that was lost years ago.  Sure it makes us feel good to see all of those states colored in….but is it a true assessment of the battle?

So if we are going to look at this as a “war” we need to be working from the same battlefield map with a cohesive strategy to win our right to work at a minimum.  Otherwise what is the point?

Time for Interior Design to Split

mitosis-02
http://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-mitosis

For those of you who still visit this site, or receive notifications, you will note that PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been quiet for the past year.  Several reasons;  First, I have not had time.  Second, not much has been happening on the Interior Design identity front-good or bad.  Third, I am tired of posting the same old diatribes.  Fourth, since I do not tweet or promote my thoughts via  wider social media I find this forum….blogging…rather limited in reach.

If nothing else it helps me to frame my thoughts about this much maligned and misunderstood profession.  If it has any influence above and beyond that then great.

I continue to serve the profession via two of the three ‘E’s (education/experience/examination) and for the time being, find that my time is better invested in that regard.  So unless something earth shattering comes across my Interior Design Identity Radar (IDIR) this will be my last post for a while.

Remember the concept of Mitosis?  “During mitosis one cell divides once to form two identical cells. The major purpose of mitosis is for growth and to replace worn out cells” (http://www.yourgenome.org/ ).

We have spent the past 45+ years trying to make Interior Design into what we think it should be.  It has been so much to so many.  From the innately qualified interior decorators to the licensed professionals who practice at the highest levels of the code regulated building design professions we have all claimed “Interior Design” to be our very own by title and performance.  Some of us have tried to regulate the title. Some of us have abandoned the title altogether (shout out to my IA brethren/sistren) while others have railed against any effort to own the title and redefine it to make it their own.

How has that worked out for any of us?

The world (at least here in the U.S.) still considers Interior Design to be an unessential occupation, a flight of fancy requiring little more than an artistic flair and eye for color. Of course there are exceptions…but you cannot prove my overall assessment to be unfounded.  45+ years…..

Suffice it to say we have done a poor job of defining our value to society. 45+ years.

Interior Design is tired…and may well be “worn out”.  Growth has been limited but the potential is unlimited.  I have used many metaphors to describe our conflicted identity, from familial to militaristic to camping to athletics.  I grow weary trying to conjure another. So let’s try genetic science.

While much of the world endeavors to adapt to an exponentially increasing level of technological advancement, subsequent specialization, and daily disruptions to the status quo we have…well we still cling to our comfy pillow. Why can’t society just accept us for who we are?  Rhetorical question.  Pillow getting a bit flat after 45+ years?

Well here is my FINAL plea for the profession of Interior Design to go biological and split.  It is time Interior Design to become just plain “Interior Design” to include everyone who decorates and designs interior spaces that are not regulated by code, ordinance, standard, law, or any other legal oversight and those who choose to practice “code regulated Interior Design”¹.  The distinction is clear.  Not everyone understands the fine line between interior decoration and interior design.  But most people understand and respect those whose work affects their health, safety and/or improves their overall welfare vis-a-vis regulations and laws.

This is our cleave;  Not “designers can decorate but decorators cannot design”. Not “I am a state certified interior designer and you’re not”.  Not “I went to design school and you did not”.  But simply I am an Interior Designer and you are a code regulated Interior Designer¹.  If we make this our message, or mantra, we can use this simple distinction to easily and effectively self-regulate the professional domain.

NOTE 1: Recent ID legislation (Utah, Oregon, Washington) has contained the title “Commercial Interior Designer” as a means to help policy makers grasp the nuances between those who practice code regulated Interior Design and those who do not.  PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER agrees with this semantic ploy but urges us all to fully consider the implications of that distinction. Some regulated Interior Design is quasi-residential in nature…..and many larger communities regulate residential construction in some fashion.   Ultimately PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER really does not care what we call our new form of Interior Design. We just need to adopt a model title and our professional organizations need to adopt their preference and self-regulate based on this split.  There is a way.  Who has the will?

P.S. Code Regulated Interior Design Update.

Pennsylvania just introduced a bill incorporating “Code Regulated Interior Design” in its language.  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/CSM/2015/0/20088_11187.pdf

Now if they can just loose the “Interior Design” nomenclature altogether, other than to define it as something we are not, we’ll be on to something.