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Why Good Design Matters

Writer Design NJ

A Q&A with Terri Fiori, Allied ASID and Past President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

What led you to interior design as a profession?
I didn’t take a straight path to my present career as an interior designer and principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff. After I graduated from college, I worked in product development. I loved that it was creative, yet I also learned about the business process, starting from the conception of an idea to a completed product. Interior design follows a similar process.

After my son was born, I enrolled part-time at Berkeley College. Most of the students in my class were on their second careers as well.

How did you come to join ASID?
I joined as a student member of the ASID New Jersey Chapter. I really enjoyed being with other creatives and like-minded people. I met Industry Partners that I have relationships with to this day! ASID is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers, interior design students and the manufacturers and suppliers in the field. ASID was founded in 1975, and its legacy dates back to the early 1930s; it has 46 chapters throughout the country.

My first experience as a volunteer for ASID was on the marketing committee, which led to becoming that committee’s chair and eventually a board member. In October 2020, I became president of the chapter. I felt that ASID had helped me so much with my career — I wanted to give back to ASID through volunteering. I’m a lifelong learner. ASID offers important courses such as Evidence-Based Design, which roots design in scientific research, to business courses to best practices. I also really enjoy the camaraderie of the organization and, of course, the friendships I’ve made along the way.

What distinguishes ASID designers from others in the field?
Research and education. ASID designers must complete 10 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) over two years. You have to be committed. Your education doesn’t stop after you graduate.

ASID offers business courses that help people run a business: how to bill, how to manage expectations, etc. These courses aren’t usually offered in design schools. ASID also offers education about Aging in Place and Universal Design — sink and countertop heights, shower heads, door widths, entry into homes and more — to accommodate aging and special needs.

ASID interior designers also know that health, safety and welfare are central tenets of good design, and they impart those principles in their work. Interior designers can draft construction documents for safe, accessible, functional interior spaces; we have been schooled in all of that.

ASID has a Code of Ethics designers are expected to adhere to. In addition, there is a professionalism that sets apart an ASID interior designer from others in the field.

Why is good design important?
One of the basic principles of ASID is that Design Impact Lives. We’ve all discovered this past year how our built environment can improve our well-being; it’s at the core of what we are taught in school. When you’re in a well-designed space it’s just intuitive. Whether you are in a room that is designed to energize or to keep you focused or to be calming, good design affects us in a positive way; it is powerful. It promotes wellness.

Why do you think it is important to get the word out about ASID?
I think a lot of people don’t realize all that goes into being an ASID interior designer. It’s important for the public to know the benefits of working with a trained, educated, creative design professional. Not everyone can call themselves an interior designer. While interior designers are decorators, we are more than that. We are educated in interior construction features. We can design non-structural and non-load-bearing interiors. We are required to learn about fabrics that are non-flammable, about functionality and how to design the flow of a space and forms of egress. We are familiar with building codes and how they function and perform with the design in any space. All of this is so important as it effects the health, safety and welfare of the public.

How are you getting the word out?
We’ve increased our marketing initiatives and are cultivating the next generation of interior designers through stepped-up efforts at programming for design students. We also rely heavily on educating via social media. Our Instagram and Facebook pages speak not only to designers but to the public as well.

We’re really excited about our media outreach and our ad campaign with Design NJ. The campaign debuted in the April/May 2021 issue. It states our difference in a simple yet powerful way: Professionalism, Ethics and Education, the cornerstones of the value of an ASID designer.

We think Design NJ is the right vehicle for us because the readership is interested in design and discerning about it. We are honored to partner with such a great publication on this initiative and proud that the work of so many ASID New Jersey interior designers graces their pages.

To find an ASID NJ interior designer, visit: https://www.asid.org/find-a-pro.