When people hear that I'm an interior designer, there is an immediate sparkle in their eyes, and I know that they're thinking about the super fun, TV version of an interior designer that fluffs pillows and does fun reveals with clients at the end of the project. While those things are true, we also have to know how to accurately take measurements for space planning, how things are constructed, what to look out for on a job site, furniture details, and so much more.
If you're thinking about studying design, scroll through for a few bits of advice I wish someone had told me back when I started!
A real time example of knowing a wide array of things came from an electrical walk-through we had for a job last week. Although we work with specific professionals like electricians, it's imperative to know about different switches and outlets as a designer as well. Terminology and phrases that are industry specific can be really helpful to know to keep meetings moving along and establish mutual respect while working on a job.
If you're thinking about studying design, I can tell you that learning in school is completely different than practicing in the real world. I did have to take multiple classes focusing on the business side of things, in addition to design-centric courses, but all of that still doesn't fully prepare you.
Gaining experience is still where I think I learned about the business and my place within it. If I tried to jump straight into my own business out of school, I don't think I could have made it. Some people can absolutely do it, but it was much better for me to learn under somebody else for a few years.
Among other things. you can learn about communication with clients, how to solve design issues that come up at the worst times, and how to use your industry resources.
Design school also focuses more on the commercial side of things, rather than residential. Nothing good or bad about that, but something to know before hand. Seek out programs that have a strong focus on what you'd like to eventually work on, if possible.
If you're a fellow designer, what did you wish you knew back when you first started? Comment below for our newcomers!!