Professional Calls to “License” Designers Run Contrary to the Expectations of Today’s Marketplace and Prevent Open Competition within a Free Market Economy

By Sean Michael Solley.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Design is often referred to as the second oldest profession, however the term “professional designer” would have seemed quite alien a century ago.

In Britain, Architecture was the first of the design disciplines make such a transition. A move vehemently opposed by Britain's most influential architects; Why? Many predicted that a qualification based on schooling and internship negated the life long acquisition of skill, craft and knowledge, leading to a monopolistic system that commended minimum levels of competency.

Although we might assume that practice has changed greatly since this time, Designers embraced the collaborative process; in part, due to a mutual respect for the master and apprentice education that Designers and Craftsmen received at this time. Today, designers can be proud to embrace many unique attributes that the US brings to the global design industry. It is my belief that the monopolistic nature of professional registration is antithetical to a society based on free choice, self-determination and the predisposition to alternative viewpoints

Design is seldom transformed from within its ranks but by the free market and changing social values. The presentation defines how the market economy provides a sophisticated system of checks and balances that protect the public and eliminate the need professional registration of all types.

Keywords: Profession, Discipline, Architecture, Interior Design, Free Market

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 592.668KB).

Prof. Sean Michael Solley

Assistant Professor, Department of Interior Design, New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Boston, MA, USA

Since graduation from London’s Kingston Polytechnic in 1988, Sean has practiced as a spatial designer in Europe, Asia and the United States. In doing so, his work and teaching reflect the growing importance of interdisciplinary collaboration within the architectural community. In 1999, a visiting professorship at the Rhode Island School of Design, lead to an invitation to serve as a full time professor between 2000-2005. During this time Sean, and wife Katrin, established Solleydesign, in response to a growing interest in user centered design. In 2005 Sean joined the Interior Design department of the New England School of Design, a division of Suffolk University, and today enjoys a healthy balance of practice and academic activity. Sean teaches both at the Undergraduate and Graduate Level courses such as Design Drawing and Universal Design. In 2009 Solleydesign received the Rhode island Small Business Administration’s Joseph G. E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Each year SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) recognize businesses that have prospered by adapting to the particular challenges and opportunities in their region.


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