Interior and Spatial Design

Interior designers are required to have a variety of technical and creative skills. These will include many of the following: 

  • Technical skills, especially proficiency in AutoCAD and drawing and sketching ability
  • Good spatial awareness, imagination and creativity
  • Excellent communication skills, both for client liaison, research and negotiating with contractors and suppliers
  • It is important to have empathy so that you can see a space or a design problem from the client's point of view
  • Team work and management skills are particularly important for those with responsibility for the direction of a project and liaising with contractors
  • Motivation and the ability to work unsupervised – this is especially important for freelance designers
  • Competition is fierce in the industry, so a proactive approach, ambition, and determination are necessary for success
  • Business skills - includes budgeting, marketing and time management skills
  • An ability to work under pressure and a keen eye for attention to detail

Many of these skills you will have developed whilst studying at university. Take the time to look through the list and try to think of an occasion when you have demonstrated these skills. Try to identify your weaknesses and consider how you might improve your profile.

Sectors in Interior Design

Interior designers work in a variety of environments:

  • Residential / domestic accommodation - the setting may be a new build, an established home, or a conversion
  • Workplace – includes factories and offices. Design may be as much concerned with functionality, problem-solving, and creating a space where innovation and ideas can flourish as it is with “looks"
  • Temporary exhibition design – museums, galleries, and a wide range of other private and public settings
  • Commercial – includes retail shops and shopping malls, warehouses, conference centres
  • Leisure - cinemas, theatres, and health centres
  • Hospitality – hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and nightclubs would all fall into this category
  • Education – includes schools and universities
  • Healthcare – local health centres, hospitals, nursing and care homes, and private clinics

Career Progression

Most interior designers spend the first five years after graduation (or after entering the profession) gaining experience, building up a portfolio, and a good client and supplier base. It also takes time to develop your own style and approach, and perhaps to work out which sector suits your skills and interests.

Interior design does not have the structured career path or clear promotion-based approach found in many other industries. This is partly due to the very diverse nature of the design world and its penchant for self-employment, but also because this is a creative industry. To a large degree, interior designers must make their own career – initiative, ambition, and individual skill and creativity are key to success. Most interior designers spend the first five years after graduation (or after entering the profession) gaining experience, building up a portfolio, and a good client and supplier base. 

To improve employment prospects, interior designers need to:

  • Recognise the importance of continuing professional development (CPD). The Chartered Society of Designers is very active, and encourages members to add 100 CPD points to their personal “log” each year. 
  • Keep adding to their skills base, and keep up-to-date with technological advances and new techniques 
  • Build their portfolio to show a range of projects, approaches, and clients, and to showcase individual style 
  • Make the most of marketing and networking opportunities 

Design fairs and competitions can help your career by showcasing creativity. Events like New Designers are often attended by journalists and professionals on the lookout for new talent.  Competitions are an excellent way of ensuring your work is regularly viewed by the wider art community.  

Career Options 

The skills you will have developed as an interior designer are also transferable into other design based sectors and designers are employed in a variety of roles such as:

 

Last modified: 
Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 09:18