ASID Update: A Different Future?

July 1, 2008

Additional collaboration by key interior design associations could do wonders to advance the profession.

By Rita Carson Guest, FASID

Great spaces and great buildings inspire the people who occupy them. They perform for the people and organizations that depend on them. They integrate technology support, ergonomics, and user control to provide comfort and aid productivity. Today, some even generate more energy than they use! Through engineering, design, and conscientious selection of products and materials, design professionals can help conserve our precious natural resources.

It takes many professionals and specialists—from a broad range of disciplines—working collaboratively to make a building great. What if the various design organizations were to do the same? Let's pool our resources to get the
message out to clients and future clients about the incredible benefits and long-term economies of good design ... instead of striving to define our differences. We all share a passion for good design and for improving the lives of human beings. If our organizations work together toward common goals, as our members do every day on projects, imagine what we could do to advance the business of design!

At ASID, we are making an effort to reach out to every segment of the design business while seeking opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Sustainable and green design is an area where mutual support is critical. Recently, we signed on to AIA's 2030 initiative to promote the goal of net zero energy buildings by 2030. Additional recent initiatives include the following:

  • ASID is a founding member and long-time supporter of the USGBC. Most recently, the ASID Foundation sponsored the development and distribution of the ReGreen guidelines for home remodeling.
  • We also are partnering with the design media to encourage more widespread adoption of sustainable design standards and practices.
  • With Interiors & Sources magazine, we recently announced the creation of The Bloom Awards that will recognize innovation in sustainable commercial products, global responsibility and an appreciation for green design.
  • With Hospitality Design magazine, we created the Earth-Minded Design Awards (the EMAs) to promote green building in the hospitality industry.
  • We are developing a similar award program with Metropolis.
  • We are full members of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), which represents 70 member associations in 45 countries on every continent. We support the IFI mission to expand internationally the contribution of the design profession to society through exchange and development of knowledge and experience: in education, practice and fellowship.
  • We celebrate good residential design through our relationship with Southern Accents as well as many regional publications.
  • We celebrate good contract design through many regional award programs throughout the United States where our Chapters present award winners for publication in local business journals.

The interior design community is served by a number of organizations that regularly engage in dialogue on topics of common interest. Whatever our differences, our Issues Forum members (ASID, IIDA, IDEC, ARIDO, CIDA, NCIDQ, and IDC) share a common goal of advancing the profession.

Together we have supported the development of the Interior Design Body of Knowledge document, which continues to be updated and expanded; and together we launched the Careers in Interior Design Web site.

ASID has long-standing relationships with each of the member organizations of the Issues Forum and on occasion has provided both direct and in-kind assistance for compatible projects. Recently, for example, ASID responded to CIDA's request for funding to support their work to continue to improve and update the standards for interior design education accreditation. We met with the leadership of NCIDQ to discuss ways to encourage more interior designers to sit for the qualifying examination. In cooperation with IDEC, we have put together a "tool kit" of educational and research resources that we have distributed to every interior design program in the United States.

I am often asked why there is more than one organization representing interior design professionals. There are many reasons, both historical and practical, for the existence of ASID and IIDA. However, we remain on good terms and often collaborate on educational programs and legislative issues at state and local levels. And we continue to explore new ways that our organizations can work more closely together at a national level. The ASID board of directors has requested a meeting between our respective boards to explore new ways we can work together and to build trust and a new future.

We are also looking outside the architectural and interior design community to the other design professions—such as graphic designers, industrial designers and environmental designers—to see how we can broaden the discussion around the future and value of design. Can you imagine a new landscape where architects, interior designers, graphic designers, engineers, social psychologists, ergonomists, and similar professions work together side by side as design professionals who respect one another? Perhaps there may even be one giant design association or design congress with places for all of these specialties. Our clients are already demanding that we work together. We would love to see a future where all the design organizations do just that-to promote the value of what we do!

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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