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American Society of Interior Designers Delivers Rich Insight in Latest Industry Outlook Briefs

Trio of reports delves into the challenges and changes facing the design world and sheds light on future trends

(December 13, 2019 – Washington, D.C.) -- The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is closing out the decade with its latest round of research, comprised of three industry outlook briefs: Business Services and Client Engagement, Design Process Disruptors and Synergies, and Career Pathways and Opportunities.

The ASID research team compiled these resources by interviewing thought leaders and conducting focus groups with a diverse set of industry professionals. These findings are complemented by additional recent research, such as the ASID 2019 Interior Design Salaries & Benefits Report series. By digging into the challenges facing today’s design community, from technology to business competition to client relations, ASID presents an actionable plan to progress the profession into the future.

Explains Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID, ASID CEO, “The industry is changing in ways we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. From technological innovations to the embrace of research as a core tenet of design, the practice is fluid and ever-evolving, and it can often be difficult to come to terms with these shifts and understand the best way to respond. That’s the gap we hope these outlook briefs can bridge. By consulting a robust range of people across all facets of the design industry, we have compiled the top concerns, and solutions, for the community to empower their practice and enhance the impact of design.”

The Business Services and Client Engagement brief contextualizes the changes afoot for interior designers when it comes to evolving their practices and managing clients. It examines the trends of increased competition for business and employees, the accelerated pace of innovation, the adoption of new technologies, the use of big data and evidence-based decision-making, growing concerns with sustainability and health, and greater recognition of the needs and rights of all individuals as challenges facing designers. It also looks at key disruptors and drivers of change related to client expectations with feedback from industry professionals on how to best manage this and how to modify design services to grow one’s business. In conclusion, the report notes:

Data-based design: With clients demanding more upfront proof of how spaces and products will perform, designers need to take a more analytical approach to presenting their proposed solutions.

Diversifying roles and focuses as a firm: As projects become more technical and evidence-based, the opportunity exists for designers or firms to focus solely on being research or subject-matter experts.

Occupant-oriented approaches: Designers and clients must engage in greater consideration of the social aspects of a space or building and not just the physical environment itself. The success of a space depends a great deal on how well it meets the needs of different end-user groups.

Stakeholder-based success: Designers need to remain agile and flexible when responding to the requests of multiple stakeholders, yet at the same time, assert their leadership and control in order to deliver the projects that clients expect.

The Design Process Disruptors and Synergies brief examines how changes like technology and client engagement are impacting the design process and how designers are collaborating across multiple disciplines. It highlights trends impacting the interior design process and practice including a greater urgency to reduce time-to-market, the rising cost of construction, higher standards for performance, and the ever-widening use of technology, while identifying mechanisms that have emerged as design process disruptors and drivers of change. It also offers recommendations on how to navigate through these changes and notes on future directions for the profession:

Technological disruptors will continue in the years ahead as developing technologies, such as those incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), enter the mainstream.

Pressure on designers like shorter project schedules and more complex projects involving larger teams, will push designers to avail themselves of all the tools and tactics at their disposal to meet demands without burning themselves out.

Occupant satisfaction and wellness and the potential within interior environments to influence this has increased awareness by clients, making projects more complicated and complex and involving larger teams in need of greater coordination and collaboration.

Proof of performance will be demanded by clients, so designers will need to spend more time during the programming phase collecting, compiling, and presenting data, documentation, research, and other evidence-based information in order to justify their proposed solutions.

The Career Pathways and Opportunities brief dives into the often non-traditional career trajectory of those in the design industry. While examining trends impacting interior designers’ roles and career pathways, the brief identifies both traditional and emerging options, such as interior designer or resource curator. It also shines a spotlight on the changing role of interior designers and clients, emphasizing that there is rarely a straight line in a career path, and delivers advice on the skills that designers need to meet the requirements and demands of their clients:

Deepening connection with clients: Designers need to understand who their clients really are and how design can address their needs and issues. They will have to develop a more elevated way of thinking about how space affects occupants in multiple ways—physically, psychologically, biologically, socially, and cognitively.

Expanding design skills: Clients and end-users want engaging, exciting spaces. More than just great aesthetics or function, designers will need to know how to create immersive, interactive environments and curated experiences.

Comprehending qualitative methods: The demand for more evidence-based, documented design solutions will require the ability to understand and interpret research and analyze and apply data, while also working with IT and HR staff to implement data collection strategies.

Understanding how to run a business: To stay competitive and attract clients, designers will need to be more knowledgeable about the business side of design, such as marketing, branding, and client development and management.

Learning new technologies…quickly: Designers need to become adept at designing with VR, AR, and other visualization technologies. They will need to understand developing AI technologies and know how to apply them in their work, and how to use smart technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) to make environments more responsive, healthy, and sustainable by using the feedback from smart technologies to alter and improve the environment.

The briefs are available to ASID members at no charge and may be downloaded at https://www.asid.org/resources/resources/index/resource-center.

About ASID

The American Society of Interior Designers believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks, and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional, and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidence-based and human-centric design to social responsibility, well-being, and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide.

ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. Learn more at asid.org.