Do you hire the right designers for your firms?

To ensure hiring the right designers, the job descriptions and position titles listed on your ads must be honest. Many interior design companies said hiring “interior designers” on their ads but actually the real job responsibility was either a sales person or a computer draftsperson. Different job titles will attract different types of candidates, if you want to hire a CAD operator but are worried the person might quit if he or she won’t have the opportunity to really design their own things, lying about the job title on the hiring ads won’t help. It will just attract many creative individuals who don’t necessarily possess advanced computer drafting skills to the interviews, and if you try to save on salary and say you want to hire a CAD drafter on the ads but actually are looking for a talented interior designer, you might end up attracting more technical oriented but not so artistic people to come to the interview. No matter under what scenario, it will all end up wasting your valuable time and company resources. 

Things to consider if you work at the design firms that divide tasks

Many design firms divide tasks for their designers, some of them are only involved in FF&Es, some are only doing CAD drafting or rendering, and some only go to the job sites. Dividing tasks can maximize the efficiency based on each designer’s strengths. However, if you are a junior level designer who works at this kind of company, you might not be able to learn the whole design process which could have negative impact if you would like to work for different design firms or run your own business in the future. If you are a senior level designer and already know all aspects of design process, working at the firms that divide tasks may give you more opportunities to focus on the tasks you are good at which will lead to better job performance and happier you.

Changing Interior Design Job Market

I drew the hand sketch as attached, I came up with the design ideas, I chose the finish materials, and I also generated the elevation drawings in AutoCAD program for this bench and linen closet, and I gave these information to a 3D rendering guy to draw a beautiful 3D rendering as attached. If you did not know all these, and if you are an owner of an interior design firm, your company is hiring an interior designer, I and the 3D rendering guy both go to your company for the job interview, and who will you hire? Based on my own experiences, people who have 3D renderings in their portfolios tend to get the job even though whatever they drew wasn’t necessarily their own design ideas. Nowadays, many interior design companies are expecting the designers they hire should possess 3D rendering skills, they do not need to be creative or even have certain interior design related knowledge, education or credential, but they must be excellent computer 3D renderers. How come all over the sudden, an interior designer’s job can easily be taken away by a computer 3D renderer?

I think there are 2 reasons: 1. Advancement of 3D rendering programs make 3D renderings more common, everyone from the designers, architects to consumers alike, has become less and less 3D imaginative, people no longer can imagine things 3 dimensionally on their own, they must rely on the visual aids to picture things. Older architects and designers trained in old-school ways normally still possess the ability to visualize things in their minds since the 3D computer rendering programs were not invented or still at the infancy when they were at schools, they had nothing to reply on, so they were forced to imagine things on their own before things were actually built. 2. Unlimited on-line image resources such as Pinterest and Houzz that provide tons of design images for design professionals to copy or tweak from, the old days that you had to squeeze your brains out to come up with brand new design ideas from nothing have gone. Directly copy or tweak other people’s design ideas is a much quicker and easier way to design a space, so the capability of generating original design ideas is no longer valued.

So, the best suggestion I can give to people who would like to be in design industry is to learn as many 3D rendering programs as possible. Even if what you draw in 3D rendering program is not your own design idea, you still can be popular in the interior design job market.

Can Creativity be Learned?

I have been working with lots of co-workers during my 15 year interior design career, and one thing I find is that most designers can master computer drafting programs better and draw faster, gain more job site or construction experiences, and become more good at running their design businesses throughout the years when the designers keep working in the related fields, but for those non-creative designers, no matter how many years they are in the design business, they are still not creative.

Many people will disagree with me by saying when designers have seen many projects, furniture, or accessories…, they would become more creative because their aesthetic senses are getting better, but let’s be honest, those people are simply acting like a computer hard drive that got lots of information saved in the system, and when they need to design something, their big memory systems started to select the existing ideas from the systems and combine, mix-match and turn into other ideas. They are not becoming more creative but becoming more resourceful.

A real creative designer will show his/her creativity from their very early career, just usually the ideas coming from more junior,  inexperienced designers can’t be executed smoothly due to his/her unfamiliar with the material characteristics, engineering procedures, structural integrity, or the budget and regulation limitations. On the other hand, the design ideas coming from more senior and experienced designers usually are more matured and can be executed better. As of non-creative designers, no matter whether they are junior or senior designers, they just do not have any creative ideas but bunches of copied or tweaked ones.

In my opinion, being creative is a gift, a talent, not a skill that can be learned. However, creativity is not the only factor to be successful in the interior design business. Marketing strategy, personal charisma and credentials also can play important roles. One of my classmates in college who drew so ugly, and her designs were so boring and non creative, our professors always gave her low grades, but she was very talkative and had very excellent presentation & communication skills, she became a carpet sales person after graduated and made huge deals. She made more money than any of us who graduated in the same year, and soon was promoted to the district manager. So, if you find creativity is not one of your strengths, stop wasting time on any of those “ways” to learn how to be more creative. Instead, focus on your strengths and work hard.