Feedback on Title Legislation

Dear Janice:
In response to your recent editorial, “Bad Legislation is Bad for Business,” I don’t think those who advocate licensure realize the consequences of the legislation. I started in this business during the 1950s. I’ve seen this industry struggle with dealer growth efforts and designer training. Not only are successful designers skilled in all aspects of our business, but they must learn the most difficult art of all – selling a personal service and all the related products used in a remodeling project, whether it is a kitchen, bath or other room.

Furthermore, remodelers are often asked to handle light commercial/industrial offices and additions. As a result, remodelers and their design/sales staff will frequently employ the services of architects, professional engineers and structural engineers in support of these projects. 

I became involved with and supported the Interior Design Practice Act in our state thinking all designers would benefit from such an approach to increase the potential for professional recognition. Supposedly, the kitchen/bath designer and the remodeling designer/salesperson would be included and benefit from the recognition. I subsequently dropped my license due to the outrageous renewal fees, and the failure by our state organization to recognize the complexities of our business.

More importantly, no one was concerned whether or not I held an Interior Design License. Then, I had to extend my “education” in the same courses and programs I had already completed while obtaining my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. No recognition was extended for my extensive knowledge gained from experience while employed in our vast remodeling field.

Much fuss was made over extending interior designers’ awareness of materials, surfaces, finishes, etc. It became obvious to me I needed to either change my title and/or become licensed as an architect.

I have also practiced as a “fee for service” designer for many years now and can rightfully call myself a professional. Let’s face it: Interior designers will never be anything other than space-oriented visual artists who must add/include another expert professional experienced in private and commercial construction techniques.
W. William
Williams Design Studio
Arlington Heights, IL

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