So this is the week of all weeks...I am excited to be attending Blog Podium this Friday, my first ever Blogger event. I have no idea what to expect, I am nervous and excited all rolled into one. My only worry is that I am awaiting a medical appointment that is beyond my control and just hope it won't be scheduled for Friday...fingers crossed for me please!
I spent the weekend exploring new blogs, and I am struck by the number of bloggers who sell their services as designers. Many have no formal education in Interior Design but have a knack that they are now basing a business on. I have no real problem with this other than it can be somewhat irksome when I spent a gazillion dollars for my formal design education which I am still paying for. None the less, there is a lot of talent out there and that talent deserves to be shared. It got me thinking though about the validity of formal design training, and the term 'Interior Designer'.
Interior Designers (in Canada) have graduated from a 3 year Interior Design program at an accredited college or a longer degree program through a University, and have had rigorous training in structure, building code, life safety, drafting, space planning, programming, budgeting, lighting, millwork design and detailing. The fun stuff, the 'icing' as I call it comes later and is as much innate as it is learned. We cover off colour theory, history, learn about fabrics and finishes, but what they cannot teach you is style...you either have it or your don't.
Interestingly in the province of Ontario only members of the Association of Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) can legally use the title 'Interior Designer'. On their website they note that "the Association will take all necessary legal steps to protect the title "Interior Designer" and ensure non-authorized parties do not use this designation or "ARIDO" behind their names." So for me, I am not registered with ARIDO (for financial reasons) and even though I have paid a gazillion dollars for my Interior Design education (graduated from an accredited 3 year program with honors) I cannot call myself an Interior Designer without the possibility of penalty. I am okay with that. The basis of the law is to protect the consumer. And though I have all the formal training, there has to be a governing body to ensure the consumer is protected. I question how many consumers understand the difference between a designer and a decorator, and how many know of the law meant to protect them. Did you know that as an Interior Designer you can be held accountable if a project you worked on has any failings and causes bodily harm? Yup. Did you know that Interior Designers carry liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients?
My question is this; with the world of design blogging exploding, is the line between Interior Designer and Interior Decorator becoming fuzzy, and does that fuzzy line put the consumer at risk? Or perhaps it is that design bloggers have opened the flood gates even further than HGTV did originally to enable the DIYer on a whole new level. Have they negated the need on a residential level for Interior Designers and Decorators, or are they bolstering the industry?
It is a very interesting time where everyone and her brother seems to be in the industry and when you come across a website where the 'designer's' credentials are noted as having watched a lot of design programs and read many design magazine's and books, you have to wonder where the line in the sand should be drawn, and by whom?
Let me just reiterate; I love design bloggers, and I believe they are changing the world of design for the better. I feel personally that they generate a dialogue never before seen, and a community in which to share ideas freely and without prejudice. I fell out of love with design for a while, and through this world that has opened up to me, I have fallen in love again, I feel energized, inspired, and invigorated by all the possibilities and promise. Most of the design bloggers I have come across are intelligent, articulate, and extremely talented. I trust that those who have created a business with this talent only offer services they are qualified to perform, and that where necessary they seek the professional services of an Interior Designer or Architect. Those that do not and the people that hire them need to be aware of the consequences.
So it is with excitement that head into this week, where I get to attend Blog Podium, listen and learn about this wonderful world of blogging, and I get to attend The Interior Design Show all the same day!
Here's to a wonderful week, of inspiration.
Happy Monday all!