Monday, October 13, 2008
Interior Designers Wage a "Title" Fight in CT
20 years ago, Susan Roberts of Lyme, Connecticut was told by the state Department of Consumer Protection that she could no longer use the term "Interior Designer" when marketing her services. According to an article on TheDay.com, she's decided not to play along anymore and has filed suit with the aid of the libertarian legal organization Institute for Justice for the right to use the Interior Designer title.
This fight is happening all over the nation, as, according to the article, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) seeks to "expand the beachhead" of their titling into a full-blown licensing program. Getting licensed as a designer in CT is not prohibitively expensive, under $1000 for registration and exams, but for Roberts, starting out as a single mother 25 years ago made the process too difficult. After 2 decades of interior design work, she now feels that she should be able to advertise her services under the exact title of what she does for a living.
We at cityhammer.com are agnostic as to who's right and wrong here, but we find it interesting that now more than ever, in the age of Google, the importance of being able to use a title that also doubles as a search term, has sparked interior designer lawsuits across the country.
The interior-design titling law hasn't impeded her work, but it has interfered with her ability to find work, Roberts says, half-kiddingly adding that she could have been famous without the state's restrictions. She refused to call herself an interior decorator, which didn't describe what she could do, would limit her income and has become a pejorative in the design world.
”I have to call myself Susan Roberts, designer, or Susan Roberts, commercial, residential interiors,” she says. “I had to go through torture. It was intimidating. It makes you feel not as validated.”
We'll be watching with interest to see how the battle unfolds, and we hope that the ASID and the non-credentialed interior designers who work hard for their customers can find some common ground.
Click here for a list of Interior Design Pro's in Connecticut: CT Interior DesignersTo read the rest of the article on The Day, click here: What's In a Name?