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This post has been moved to the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/asid-backpeddling-as-fast-as-they-can/

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Thousands of designers in Texas rally against possible legislation that would prohibit unlicensed designers from doing commercial projects, and would put at least half of the state’s 10,000 designers out of business.

And Marilyn Roberts, ASID, the president of the Texas Association for Interior Design, which along with ASID is responsible for promoting anticompetitive legislation in Texas,  also admitted that there is “no documented case she knows of in Texas where an unlicensed interior designer created a safety hazard“.

Read the full story and watch the video here:  http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/Interior_designers_rally_for_rights?disqus_reply=6433417#comment-6433417.

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Press Release

superheroGROUP RESIGNATION FROM ASID

SENDS A STRONG MESSAGE:
STOP THE PUSH FOR REGULATION

On December 19, 2008, Michael Alin, Executive Director of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) was sent a letter via Fed Ex with the signatures of 27 Allied and Professional members resigning their membership with ASID, designated as “Group One.”

Among the reasons outlined in the letter was the groups’ pronouncement that legislation supported and funded by ASID is not in the best interest of the Allied members, and has requirements so restrictive that they would be denied the right to practice. Allied members in states where licensing has been enacted have suffered terrible persecution and lost their right to earn an honest living. The group expressed concern that in a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation.

The group resignation was coordinated by Jayne Rosen, a long-time Allied ASID member, in response to colleagues voicing their desire to resign. Rosen commented that she has seen ASID’s focus shift from education and networking to pushing a legislative agenda that does not include their own Allied members and that she feels is dangerous to the future of the profession.

The Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, has led the national movement to expose and neutralize ASID’s lobbying efforts to monopolize the interior design industry. “Interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity,” stated Patti Morrow, Executive Director of IDPC. “ASID’s attempt to impose its one-size-fits-all occupational licensing scheme on the profession is not only contrary to those values, but also hurts Allied Members, the majority of ASID’s own constituency, who while successfully working as professional designers, do not possess or wish to poses ASID’s self-mandated credentials which it claims are necessary to be considered a “professional” or to work as an interior designer.”


Diane Plesset, a “professional” member of ASID who resigned her membership earlier this year also added her name to the protest letter. “I’ve passed the NCIDQ exam required for licensing, but I cannot in good conscience support legislation that will put many honest, hard working designers out of business,” said Plesset. “A true professional is always confident enough to compete based on the merit of the work they produce.”

Rosen expects the news of the multiple-signer resignation will be a wake-up call to ASID’s Allied members, and could even be the catalyst for more resignations to take place before the December 31st renewal deadline. “The more resignations, the stronger our message becomes,” said Rosen. “ASID has neither a right nor a mandate to dictate who may or may not practice interior design.” ASID members interested in participating in another group resignation can reach Rosen at libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

Morrow reported that she has been flooded with emails from Allied members indicating they do not intend to renew their 2009 memberships. “Allied ASID and independent designers need to wake up and smell the coffee,” said Morrow. “2009 could be a financial disaster for them if they do not support and join IDPC’s effort to stop the insidious spread of anti-competitive interior design regulation that may put them out of business.”

Click here to read the Resignation Letter sent to ASID.

ASID Renewals Lapse

chartIn our last newsletter, we extended an invitation to anyone not planning to renew their ASID membership to tell us why.

We have been astonished at the incredible number of responses flooding our office! Even more amazing is that unbeknownst to each other, most designers said basically the same thing. You can read a small sampling of these messages in our Letters to the Editor section below.

If you are also not planning to renew your membership in ASID, please feel free to voice your concerns and opinions at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org. Your name and email address will be held strictly confidential and used only for IDPC internal survey purposes.

If you are interested in adding your name to an additional group resignation letter to send a message to ASID, please contact libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

ASID President’s Letter
December 18, 2008

superheroIt appears that IDPC’s newsletters are reaching thousands of their Allied members, causing them great concern and prompting them to contact the ASID national offices. ASID recently wrote to their members attempting to assuage the growing fears of their membership. As usual, ASID provided nothing substantial or empirical as backup to their rhetoric. Below are some of their statements followed by IDPC rebuttal.

“ASID is working tirelessly to advocate for the right regulation that enhances your right to practice.”

Wrong. ASID, through the coalitions it funds, initiates and funds legislation which puts their Allied members’ right to practice in jeopardy. Just look at the laws already in place as well as every single bill proposed. They have three lobbyists working to enact and expand legislation, and they charge a $15 mandatory assessment, whether or not you agree with their agenda

“ASID is actively recruiting Allied members and welcomes new Allied members into ASID each and every day.”

Of course they do! Dues from Allied members make up the majority of their income. If Allied members decline membership, the money available to push for licensing drastically declines.

[ASID provides] “Listing on the national designer referral service.”

Until recently, the ASID website had been changed so that the default said “Show Professionals Only.” Clearly, this was demeaning to Allied members, demoting them to second-class status, and made it difficult for consumers to find the Allied listings, not to mention subliminally indicating to consumers that they would be choosing an “unprofessional” designer.

IDPC brought this matter to the attention of the design community, many of which are Allied ASID, and in response to what must have been (should have been) outrage by the Allied members, it appears that the default has now been changed back to “Show All Practitioners.”

Another victory for IDPC, the only national organization that truly looks out for all designers!

“Use of the ASID Allied Member appellation” [as a benefit]

We have received copious amounts of email from Allied members as well as unaffiliated designers stating that their clients neither know about nor care whether they are ASID members. They care only about the quality of work they produce.

“Each state is defining interior design – and no two definitions are the same.”

Misleading and disingenuous. There are of course subtle differences to comply with the detailed process in each state where ASID is supporting legislation. But in virtually every proposed bill, the requirement for licensure, registration, or certification has and continues to be passage of the NCIDQ exam. Most successful, practicing Allied designers do not possess the criteria needed to even sit for the exam, thus excluding them from qualifying.

“We have not and do not seek to restrict others’ livelihoods.”

The legislation they support and fund HAS and DOES restrict the livelihoods of the majority of interior designers in this country who are not NCIDQ certified, including ASID’s own Allied members. Just take a look at the situation in Florida, as just one of many available examples. Many, many Allied ASID members and independent designers in Florida have been fined or ordered to Cease and Desist. Their names will appear on Google forever as having been prosecuted. This is a foreshadowing of what will happen in every state if practice acts are allowed to be enacted unchecked.

“Currently, interior designers in many jurisdictions are prevented by existing laws from offering services within their scope because the profession is not legally recognized.”

Absolutely false. As we have reported many times, the IBC’s actual language is: “[C]onstruction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.”

The International Building Code (IBC) establishes common code and other safety requirements for various building types. It does not regulate any design profession, nor does it require that any design profession be regulated or not be regulated. Nor has the International Code Council (ICC) ever taken a position to the effect that “interior design services must be regulated in order to protect the public.” It is telling that there is no citation or reference whatsoever supporting the false statement that it has.

For detailed information on why the IBC is a non-issue, click on these two newsletters:

Don’t Let Codes Scare You

10 False Statements About Licensing

“If your state does have an interior design law on the books, it may not affect you or the type of work you do.”

Nonsense! States with a practice act take away your occupational freedom to practice to the full scope of your abilities — they allow only work with “surface materials,” i.e. “decorating.” States with a title act take away your free speech right to accurately describe your work or yourself, thus making it more difficult or impossible to market yourself

“Our Society is what it is today because of you.”

The membership dues and mandatory legislative assessment you pay to “your Society” ARE FINANCING THE LOBBYING EFFORTS THAT MAY PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS!

Isn’t it time for YOU to stop “YOUR” society from using YOUR dues to push an agenda YOU do not agree with?

Isn’t it time for you to join IDPC?

Tattletales
And other despicable creatures..


ratDid you know that under the Florida interior design practice law, licensed designers are legally required to turn in other designers, decorators, architects, employers, co-workers, competitors, anyone they see or know of who is just trying to earn a living but is in violation of the Florida law?

That’s right. Here’s the statute:

455.227 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.
(i) Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter, the chapter regulating the alleged violator, or the rules of the department or the board.

Is this how you want your life to be? Constantly looking over your shoulder for (1) someone to turn you in for just trying to put food on the table, or (2) in constant fear that they’ll come after you, in spite of your license, because you failed to rat out one of your colleagues…?

This is the kind of KGB-like state you will be faced with if the cartel is successful in getting more practice acts like Florida’s.

And it doesn’t only affect interior designer and decorators — the office furniture and restaurant equipment industries are also being targeted and prosecuted in Florida!

It’s time for Florida designers, decorators, office furniture dealers, restaurant equipment dealers, kitchen and bath designers, architects, etc. to join our movement and help us create a plan for your state for 2009.

It’s time for the design community in the rest of the country to join IDPC and stop practice acts from getting enacted in your state.

Your future is in your hands.

ANTI-licensing article
Insurgence of the Independents by Patti Morrow

Window FashionWindow Fashion Vision is the second national, unaffiliated magazine this year to publish an article from the point of view of the resistance movement. Click here to read Insurgence of the Independents, an exposition on why unaffiliated designers — the vast majority of practicing designers — are resisting the effort led by ASID to regulate the profession, in the November issue of magazine.

Click here to subscribe to Window Fashion Vision.

www.wf-vision.com

Letters to the Editor

“I am not planning to renew my ASID Allied membership. They have not listened to my objections to licensure. I have made my voice clear for twenty years and they are still trying to regulate a profession that does not need it. I have also felt that they haven’t given me anything for my dues money as an Allied member. Clients and prospective business contacts never ask about my membership, so what’s the point?”

* * *

“All this licensing really comes down to is money. Money for NCIDQ, money for ASID, money for the legislation………and lots of it! It would take over $2,000 for me to get my license (with the STEP course, hotel and travel, the test, registration fees, and purchasing extra practicums and templates – from ASID, of course). It’s not worth it at this point in my life to become licensed. It will benefit me none. I believe my work speaks for itself. Plus, the multiple choice part of the test material is irrelevant to real-life daily practice…even in the commercial world (for which I work). They do not deserve my hard-earned money. I do not currently believe in this process to be licensed.”

* * *

“I am one of those allied ASID members who is NOT renewing my membership. The economy is only part of the problem. I do believe that ASID’s push for legislation is self-serving, and does not help me, as I am always on the bottom of any referral lists, because I have not sat for their exam, although I graduated at the top of my Interior Design Curriculum. I have NEVER been asked by a client whether or not I belong to ASID. My work and referrals speak for themselves.”

* * *

“I have decided not to renew for a few reasons, most importantly because I do not agree with their proposed legislation of interior designers. Secondly, I do not feel that it is currently worth $400+ for the benefits that they offer.”

* * *

“I have chosen to not renew my ASID membership this year. The high membership dues in this economy are coupled with the fact that I do not feel that I am getting anything out of my membership. That is magnified by their apparent lack of concern for allied members (with the legislation they are pushing for, etc). It is outrageous that a professional organization like ASID supports a move toward licensing that excludes those who have chosen to take an alternate path of education, and practical, professional experience, rather than paying to take an exam to become a ‘Professional Member’ of ASID.

Thank you for the thoughtful and researched material. I plan to forward this e-mail to design & construction colleagues who are affiliated with other professional organizations”

* * *

“I’ve been a professional designer for 30+ years (Allied Member ASID for about ten years) and have never been responsible for any harmful circumstances to my clients. It seems to me that this is an attempt to make the public view Interior Designers as having expertise beyond our scope of training/education/experience…such as architects/electricians/plumbers and building contractors……Not so!!! If those are the credentials they want to present, then they should achieve the education/training and accredidation necessary to qualify them to attach those titles to their names…..passing the NCIDQ does not nearly come close to filling that level of expertise.”

* * *

“Why align myself with an organization that is costly to maintain and may put me out of business?”

* * *

“I am not renewing my ASID membership for 2009 because ASID has done nothing to promote my business or assist me in any way. I just read the list of ten reasons a licensed interior designer is necessary and I laughed it was so absurd. I am not licensed and I am fully aware of all code requirements, ADA specifications, etc. as I regularly pull permits for jobs. Every time I read something from the IDPC I get madder! I will be joining your organization in January. Thank you for all you do.”


-Letters may have been edited for length only-

Special thanks

superheroOn behalf of the Board and Staff of IDPC,

we’d like thank our

troops and veterans

for their selflessness and courage in protecting that which we hold most dear:

OUR FREEDOMS

Please do not let their sacrifices be in vain. Do not let the pro-regulation Cartel take your economic liberty from you without a fight. Help IDPC protect your Constitutional rights to occupational freedom and free speech.

giftAsk for a membership to IDPC for Christmas.

Or better yet, why not give yourself the gift you richly deserve?

$100 a year for Members of the design community and supporters

$ 20 a year for Students

CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO JOIN?superhero

Happy holidays and a prosperous and regulation-free new year.

signature-black
Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

info@IDPCinfo.org

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Membership Information

Case Statement

Please forward this email to every interior designer, interior decorator, student, vendor or industry partner who would be negatively affected by regulation

Who is IDPC?

The Interior Design Protection Council is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, interior decorators, office furniture dealers, showrooms, suppleirs and other businesses who would be negatively affected by interior design regulation.

We also actively influence legislation germane to protecting the livelihood of our members.

For more information on IDPC, please visit our website at

http://www.IDPCinfo.org

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Long before I became a designer myself, I believed that ASID membership was an indicator of quality and professionalism, and that one should only hire ASID designers. I grew up on the client side, and also around the professional side of the industry, with a father and uncle who were in the business, and was spoonfed this point of view for decades.

Then I went to design school myself, and joined ASID as a student member, and let’s just say that my opinion of the organization and its value to anyone, consumer or designer alike, took a serious nosedive for a lot of reasons. Continuing on as an allied member at the request of a former employer, I’m afraid to say that I’ve only come to see an even darker side and more reasons why such membership is not of value to either designers or the general public, and have thus let my membership lapse.

In reality, ASID membership is only one way to demonstrate one’s qualifications to practice interior design – and it’s a pretty iffy one at that. Contrary to popular belief, and the hype that ASID aggressively promotes, entry standards for organizational membership are actually quite low, and in absolutely no way say anything about how good the designer actually is.

A very high percentage of current professional ASID members don’t have the educational background themselves that they are now touting as the prerequisite for being considered a “professional” and trying to foist off on everyone else as a minimum standard. Several years ago, when the entry requirements were changed, they grandfathered in everyone who was already a member who wanted to remain a member, pretty much based solely on how long they’d been in practice.

To join ASID at this point, all you have to do is have a couple of years of design education, fill out a form, and send in a large check along with a copy of your transcript to prove you put in some time – and to keep sending them big checks every year. There are no references required, no other validation of skills and qualifications.

To even be a full professional member, all you have to add is passing the NCIDQ, a certification test that has been widely challenged as not even validly testing the material it purports to test for, and which has a very high failure rate, at least in part because it simply does not test for much of relevance to most designers. Most of what the NCIDQ tests for relates to commercial design matters that most residential designers will never need to know – and the reality is that most ASID members are primarily residential designers. Until this year, 2008, there wasn’t even any requirement for supervised work experience to qualify to take this exam, so there have been no controls at all on the nature of the experience one has to have – or the quality of the work produced – in order to be eligible.

As we all know, any other form of certification, licensing, building codes, etc. also represents a lowest common denominator, and the reality is that the very best practitioners in every field have standards that far exceed the minimums set by professional organizations or even state licensing boards. Many of the very best practitioners eschew membership in these organizations for many reasons, including the fact that they fully recognize that membership in them is actually completely meaningless.

Yes, the most that membership in ASID proves is that the member meets a minimum standard – and in many cases, it doesn’t even prove that much! This is hardly any kind of proof of excellence that a consumer ought to rely on!

What’s more, if my experience in two different schools is any indication, the schools don’t even teach most of the material the NCIDQ purports to test for! If you want to learn how to be a good designer, you’ve got to be a real self-starter and do a lot of individual research and investigation, on an ongoing basis, reading voraciously on your own, going to CEU classes whether you’re required to or not for professional designations, asking lots and lots of questions of vendors, contractors, and other professional resources. No degree can possibly prepare a person fully to practice in this profession – it’s sweat equity that builds the qualifications, just being out there in the trenches. Formal education can certainly be a good thing and add a lot, but it also often tends to seriously stifle creativity. Thus, it’s certainly no panacea and should not be a sole prerequisite for selecting a designer – nor should seeking one with professional designations that rely on such backgrounds. No list of initials following a person’s name can possibly indicate their dedication to excellence and ongoing learning, or their taste, creativity, or ability to pull off whatever a client needs to have done – but careful interviewing of the prospective designer will certainly bring all of that out, as will checking their references and looking at their work.

In reality, there are many superb interior designers who you won’t find if you try to look them up through ASID, even if they are actually members, but you will certainly find them published in all the major magazines, creating the best rooms in local showhouses, working for the biggest and wealthiest clients – and through word of mouth when speaking with other clients who know good design and good designers when they see them.

What’s more, even if a designer is a member, you may not find them on the ASID website.  While I was a member, they didn’t even bother to list me (or a number of other allied members whom I know) in their “find a designer” sections, so so much for the value of membership to the individual designer as a marketing tool.

Since you won’t even find a lot of these people who do still meet these standards even by looking at their website, whether they are actually members or not, do your own research, and find the best designer for you by other means so that you will have the widest possible selection.

It would be inadvisable to hire any designer you don’t already know something about without fully investigating their portfolio and references, asking what they do to stay up to date, and seeing if you just plain get along with them – the very same investigative process any well-informed consumer would follow when selecting any kind of professional or tradesperson to do work for them.

According to recent estimates, only about 10% of the ASID membership at most holds professional status in the organization – and that represents at most approximately 3% of all interior designers in the country. Design schools are graduating many, many more designers every year, though, and that’s not even counting the thousands who come to the industry through myriad other backgrounds that qualify them just as fully, if not more so, and clearly, most of them are not joining ASID. Even if you do decide to hire an ASID designer, you should still check them out thoroughly, so why limit your options so much?

The truth is that quality will show, with or without membership in organizations like ASID, and a client who decides to limit himself to ASID designers only may well miss out on finding the perfect designer for himself, just by looking at an extremely artificially-narrowed field of choices.

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