ASID Update: Designing at the Speed of Thought

Sept. 1, 2008

Many A&D professionals are learning new ways to keep pace in an iPhone world.

By Rita Carson Guest, FASID

Faster. Better. Cheaper. That is the mantra that drives design in the 21st century. The recent release of the new Apple iPhone 3G epitomizes this trend. Only 18 months after the original iPhone created an international sensation with its sleek design and wiz-bang technology, the folks at Apple have introduced a new and improved model that offers more features at double the connection speed and sells for hundreds of dollars less than its predecessor. This kind of innovation takes more than design creativity and talent. It requires new ways of thinking about design processes and delivering what clients will want next.

How can designers hope to keep up when our clients are demanding more of us and the world around us in changing so rapidly? We need to keep working, but we must keep learning, too. We know we need to stay informed, yet we are drowning in information. New developments are happening all the time, while our office and e-mail inboxes continue to pile up with unread material. Who has time to go through it all ... much less to sort out the "need to know" from the "nice to know?" If we neglect it, we do so at our own peril.

One of the great services professional associations provide their members is helping them stay current with developments in their fields and industries. ASID, for example, now delivers to its members a daily news briefing, produced in affiliation with U.S. News & World Report, that summarizes top stories related to design, the building industry, the economy, the environment, and more. This members-only benefit is provided at no additional charge, along with the Society's bimonthly magazine, e-newsletters and online product news to give members timely and useful information in ways that are easier for them to manage.

In addition to staying informed, we need to sharpen and expand our skills in order to remain competitive in today's rapidly changing market. Continuing education is a must for any professional, yet often we find ourselves opting for the CEU credits we need, rather than the knowledge we want, to accommodate education requirements within our busy schedules. We add to our store of information, but are we broadening our understanding in ways that will inspire us to grow as designers?

To give professional interior designers more choice and flexibility in meeting their continuing education needs, ASID recently launched a new online learning management system: ASID UNi. With UNi, design professionals have 24/7 access to a growing portfolio of affordable, high-quality courses on some of interior design's most pressing issues. Current offerings include creating livable solutions for the aging population; selecting sustainable materials and products; conducting post-occupancy evaluations to document the value of your design services; designing productive and profitable workplaces; and using design to attract the all-important female retail consumer. Marketing and business-related topics are also covered.

UNi courses have been developed to address a variety of learning styles and preferences. They allow you to learn at your own pace and have "instant feedback" assessment tools built in to ensure that you have command of key concepts and insights. All courses have been developed by ASID and are IDCEC approved. Upon successful completion of a course, a downloadable/printable certificate is awarded for your records that includes all pertinent course details. An NCIDQ submission form is also provided for those who use the NCIDQ transcript service to monitor their earned CEU credits. For more information or to enroll in a UNi course, go to

Interior design has not yet reached the "designing at the speed of thought" velocity that is pushing the envelope of technology and product design. Those innovations, however, affect how people are acting and interacting in a variety of interior environments. As the speed at which these products and technologies are introduced accelerates, so will our clients' expectations as to how we can apply and integrate them in our design work.

ASID understands the challenges that interior design professionals face in trying to stay abreast of the many changes that impact our work and our industry. We, too, are continuously investigating and updating the tools we use to ensure that members are getting the information and knowledge they need to compete and succeed.

ASID president Rita Carson Guest, FASID, is an award-winning interior designer and longtime advocate for the interior design profession. She is president and design director of Carson Guest, a law office and corporate design firm in Atlanta. ASID can be reached at (202) 546-3480 or [email protected], and on the Web at

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