Working at the design firms that are named after the owners

Besides for tax or professional regulation purposes, many design firms are named after their owners, firms like this normally limit the design styles to only meet the owner’s personal preferences, so if you are good at design Minimalist design but the owner likes high traditional design, don’t expect you will have the opportunity to design anything Minimalist in this company. However, if you are fine with designing whatever the owners ask you to, then it definitely won’t impact your career choice that much.

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.

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.