What’s that old adage? “The only constant in life is change.” There’s a reason this saying has stayed around for so long—because it’s true. And, just like everyone else, this little piece of wisdom holds true for interior designers too.
Perhaps you are reading this as the top designer in your area, thinking “Why would I need to adapt to change? I am at the top of my career.” Well, to remain a successful designer, you not only need to adapt to change, you need to embrace it.
Learning = Change
A professional designer must hold a degree in Interior Design. That’s a given. But does your learning stop when you get that diploma? Not a chance! Not for the most successful designers, at least. If you were to re-enroll in all of those courses that you took when you first earned your degree, they would be substantially different now.
To remain a relevant interior designer, you must continue to learn and grow (and as a result, change). Attending trade shows and exhibitions will display the newest developments in the industry. Collaborating and networking with other individuals keeps your design fresh and your knowledge growing. There is no stopping point in your education—it should always continue, not only in the classroom but beyond those hallowed halls as well.
Trends Are Always Changing
What is a trend? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it as “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” Change is right there in the definition! It is not feasible (or desirable) for a designer to adopt every trend that comes out (Plus, some of them aren’t worth their salt and extinguish themselves quickly), but the designer does need to be aware of the majority of them.
Big or small, trends have an undeniable impact on design. But, for example, you have to remember, it’s called the Pantone color of the year, not the color of the decade. Your job is to make that color timeless so the design looks as great this year as it does next year, the year after that, and the year after that. Rewarding as it would be to have clients that are perpetually redesigning a space, that’s not the reality. Your client will run out of patience and funds long before the world runs out of new ideas. Being able to blend the trends with the more enduring aspects of design will give you the best of both—and a happy client as well.
And don’t just look to home design trends, thinking they will keep you abreast of change. There are so many factors driving design right now, such as: technologies, fashion runways, sustainable living and ecological advancements.
Technology Is Here To Stay and It Changes Rapidly
Think about your phone. Is it a smart phone? Are you essentially carrying around a computer in your pocket or purse with every bit of information and entertainment that the world could offer at your fingertips? It wasn’t like that ten years ago, let alone twenty. Technology has a way of changing faster than anything else in our culture. For example, home automation is no longer something to dream about—it is here and becoming more and more accessible and it’s something that needs to be included in design.
The programs and materials that are used in interior design have changed along with the rest of the world’s technological developments. Even simple things like building a client list have evolved with technology. If you want to stay known in your field, you better have a website. And maybe a blog. Oh, and your brand must pop up quickly on search engines. And don’t neglect your Facebook page. And be ready to jump on board with the next big thing in social media. And don’t forget to Pin that design of the day, ALL while still providing quality service that gets you the word of mouth (because, remember, that still happens too!).
Your Clients Are Different
Never before have clients had such vast opportunities to develop their own sense of style. There are more opportunities for the average person to learn about and hone their unique take on design. Sites like Pinterest, design apps, networks dedicated to design, and webzines like Freshome give people an ability to take more ownership of the design process. They can make inspiration boards, experiment with their space virtually, and become entrenched in design terminology, theories and their execution in the real world.
If a potential client comes with a specific vision to a designer who does not adapt to change, things will not go well and that designer is unlikely to be hired. Clients want to be heard and they want to feel that who they hire is in touch and current. The steadfast designer who brushes the potential client off and tries to push a specific style because it is their strength will have lots of openings in their schedule.
The days of the one-trick pony are over. The designer who is stuck in their ways is going to be left behind. Yes, you may be the very pinnacle of designing a specific style. Kudos to you. Congratulations on your accomplishments. But without change, your specific style will suffocate you, leaving you trapped and reducing your potential clientele base. Adapting to change opens doors and keeps designers fresh and inspired.
What is the change that has most impacted your sense of design? How do you keep it fresh and current?