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Careers in Interior Design

For information on career paths, please visit the professional interior design organizations' websites:

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The Definition of Interior Design

Interior design encompasses the analysis, planning, design, documentation, and management of interior non-structural/non-seismic construction and alteration projects in compliance with applicable building design and construction, fire, life-safety, and energy codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines for the purpose of obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law. Qualified by means of education, experience, and examination, interior designers have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect consumers and occupants through the design of code-compliant, accessible, and inclusive interior environments that address well-being, while considering the complex physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.

Full Definition of Interior Design

Interior design is a distinct profession with specialized knowledge applied to the planning and design of interior environments that promote health, safety, and welfare while supporting and enhancing the human experience. Founded upon design and human behavior theories and research, interior designers apply evidence-based methodologies to identify, analyze, and synthesize information in generating holistic, technical, creative, and contextually-appropriate design solutions.

 

Interior design encompasses human-centered strategies that may address cultural, demographic, and political influences on society. Interior designers provide resilient, sustainable, adaptive design and construction solutions focusing on the evolution of technology and innovation within the interior environment. Qualified by means of education, experience, and examination, interior designers have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect consumers and occupants through the design of code-compliant, accessible, and inclusive interior environments that address well-being, while considering the complex physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.

Interior designers contribute to the interior environment with knowledge and skills about space planning; interior building materials and finishes; casework, furniture, furnishings, and equipment; lighting; acoustics; wayfinding; ergonomics and anthropometrics; and human environmental behavior. Interior designers analyze, plan, design, document, and manage interior non-structural/non-seismic construction and alteration projects in compliance with applicable building design and construction, fire, life-safety, and energy codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines for the purpose of obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law. 

 

Interior design includes a scope of services which may include any or all of the following tasks:

·       Project Management: Management of project budget, contracts, schedule, consultants, staffing, resources, and general business practices. Establish contractually independent relationships to coordinate with, and/or hire allied design professionals and consultants.

·       Project Goals. Understand, document, and confirm the client’s and stakeholders’ goals and objectives, including design outcomes, space needs, project budget, and needs for specific or measurable outcomes.

·       Data Collection: Collect data from client and stakeholders by engaging in programming, surveys, focus groups, charrette exercises, and benchmarking to maximize design outcomes and occupant satisfaction.

·       Existing Conditions: Evaluate, assess, and document existing conditions of interior environments.

·       Conceptualization: Application of creative and innovative thinking that interprets collected project data and translates a unique image or abstract idea as a design concept, the foundation of a design solution. The concept is then described using visualization and communication strategies.

·       Selections and Materiality: Selection of interior building products, materials, and finishes; furniture, furnishings, equipment, and casework; signage; window treatments, and other non-structural/non-seismic interior elements, components, and assemblies. Selections shall be made based on client and occupant needs, project budget, maintenance and cleaning requirements, lifecycle performance, sustainable attributes, environmental impact, installation methods, and code-compliance.

·       Documentation: Develop contract documents for the purposes of communicating design intent and obtaining a building permit, as allowed by law. Documentation by phases may include schematic, design development, and construction drawings and specifications. Drawings may consist of floor plans, partition plans, reflected ceiling plans, and finish plans; furniture, furnishings, and equipment plans; wayfinding and signage plans; code plans; coordination plans; and elevations, sections, schedules, and details illustrating the design of non-load-bearing / non-seismic interior construction and/or alterations.

·       Coordination: Overseeing non-structural/non-seismic interior design scope in concert with the scope of allied design professionals and consultants, including, but not limited to, the work of architects, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire-protection engineers and designers, and acoustical, audio-visual, low-voltage, food service, sustainability, security, technology, and other specialty consultants. Coordination can include, but is not limited to:

o   Placement, style and finish of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire-protection devices, fixtures, and appurtenances (i.e., accessories) with the design of the interior environment.

o   Ceiling materials and heights; interior partition locations.

o   Acoustical appropriateness of spatial arrangements, construction, and finish materials.

o   Working closely with contractors to respect budgetary constraints and contribute to value engineering efforts.

·       Contract Administration: Administration of the contract as the owner’s agent, including the distribution and analysis of construction bids, construction administration, review of contractor payment applications, review of shop drawings and submittals, field observation, punch list reports, and project closeout.

·       Pre-Design and/or Post-Design Services: Tasks intended to measure success of the design solution by implementing various means of data collection, which may include occupant surveys, focus groups, walkthroughs, or stakeholder meetings. Collection and reporting findings can range from casually to scientifically gathered, depending on the project’s scope and goals.

© 2019 Council for Interior Design Qualification