Designed to Mislead

Do people who design interiors “mislead” the public when they call themselves “interior designers” without government permission? Industry insiders advocating greater regulation say yes, but practicing interior designers who simply want to accurately describe what they do say no. This report tests each side’s claims.

Using an opinion poll and a survey of leading industry magazines, we sought to find out what the public and industry sources really think when they hear the title “interior designer.” Results demonstrate that, in fact, no one is misled by people who do the actual work of designers calling themselves “interior designers,” even if they lack certain qualifications.

This squares with the experience of actual design entrepreneurs who report that their customers care about their style and their work, not the degree they hold or a test they passed. Results also suggest that imposing qualifications by law that lack any basis in evidence is what misleads the public—not designers who honestly describe what they do.

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