Category Archives: Noteworthy

5 Things You Need To Know

5 Things You Need To KnowYou Can’t Lose
By entering one or several projects into a design competition, there is no direction to go but up. Putting forth your work and having people see it, read it, and experience it can help you as a student and professional in several ways. As a student, you gain insight into how projects are judged and what is deemed great design, and as a professional you send your work to professionally successful and influential judges that critique it. You may even get to meet these judges and other professionals that attend the competition event to announce the winners (if the competition indeed decides to host the event); yet another conduit to showcase your work, and yourself.

5 Things You Need To KnowThey Make Your Work Better
Like a workshop or group review where peers, professors, and / or professionals listen to you describe and articulate your work and then provide you with constructive feedback, a competition provides a chance for you to showcase and obtain criticism and interpret your work’s worth. Knowing ahead of time that you are submitting to a competition also creates in you a sense of awareness that others – most notably, judges – are going to review your work. It makes you internally motivated to design a project that reflects your most advanced skills because you want it to impress and have people comment on it positively.

5 Things You Need To KnowThey Encourage Efficiency
Keeping yourself organized and managing your schedule are skills all designers benefit from, and if you schedule appropriate time to submit to competitions it helps you prioritize and work more efficiently. Design competitions have specific parameters and submission requirements you must tailor your submittal to, so making sure you know exactly what you need to submit as a competition deliverable(s) is important (especially when negotiating time between school and work responsibilities). Often, competitions ask for a combination of design renders and plans, as well as a succinct and clear written component describing your project.

5 Things You Need To KnowYou Become Involved
Design competitions do a great job of involving and engaging their participants. Whether it’s through e-mail, social media, or door drops, competition participants gain access to a design network where they can keep tabs on competition deadlines, see who is judging, find where and when the competition winners are announced, and of course (the fun stuff) what they receive for winning. In addition, competitions relay other entrants’ work, winning or otherwise (with approval), which gives participants a great idea of “what’s out there” and what you can expand upon in your own projects.

5 Things You Need To KnowYou Gain Affirmation, or Reaffirmation
Personally, I’ve entered several design competitions and lost all except one. The one I placed in gave me an affirming feeling that my design skills were, in a sense, acceptable – that the work I did was given a stamp of approval that said, “Yes, this is good design.” As creative people, we consistently put work “out there” that (hopefully) reflects our best design abilities and intentions, while acting as little parts of ourselves. When your design registers with a select panel of judges and you’re listed as a finalist, your career wayfinding becomes clear and the project you devoted so much personal time to is given its time in the sun. It’s an affirming, or reaffirming, feeling that your design inspired meaning in someone – a crucial effect our creations strive to engender.


Ready, Set, CHARETTE!

During NeoCon, IIDA hosts an annual Student Design Charette pitting student teams against the clock to produce a project in one work day that creatively solves a design problem they receive that morning. Students are invited from IIDA Campus Centers all over the country and placed in teams with students they’ve never met before. The results produce amazingly inventive design solutions, and provide a one-of-a-kind experience for students.



(photos of the 2012 IIDA Student Design Charette at NeoCon)

However, exactly what is a charette? Prior to interning at IIDA, I did not know what a charette was. I had heard it used in conversations, but never had the opportunity to learn what it actually meant.

The original word charette (shuh-ret) is French for “cart” or “chariot,” and is oftentimes times spelled with two r’s as charrette. The process of charette is thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France during the 19th century when the word was adapted by student architects when they arduously worked on a project close to the end of a term or specific deadline until a cart, or charette, was wheeled in to pick up their work for review. Since then, the process of charette has aligned itself with working tirelessly up until a deadline.


In today’s world, we’ve honed the definition and process of a charette to be a collaborative brainstorm in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem within a limited time to present internally, to clients, or to a panel of judges (as is the case with IIDA’s Student Design Charette). Regardless of the cause or motivation, a charette is an extremely beneficial process that collaboratively harnesses the talents of the group to plan, create, and substantiate a design solution in the interest of a client, group, or community.

As we near the three days of NeoCon in June, stay tuned for more information on IIDA’s 2013 Student Design Charette, and when and where to visit the IIDA booth to observe the process and results of the IIDA Student Design Charette.

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3 Paths Toward A More Creative Life


A great daily e-mail subscription for any kind of designer is Fast Company’s Co.Design. The subscription and site wonderfully highlights innovative ideas, projects, and inspirations to spark your design mind every morning.

This past week Co.Design released an article titled, “3 Paths Toward A More Creative Life.”

1. The first path Co.Design focuses on is DISCONNECT. The article explains that it’s an effective practice to be plugged-in and stimulated by the instant-access culture we live in, but it’s oftentimes more important to alleviate our consistently engaged minds by unplugging. To gather our thoughts, allow for introspection, and center ourselves, it’s often helpful to go on a walk or allow extra time in the morning to slowly and comfortably ease our minds into the day. To have a clear, unobstructed mind is infinitely helpful for our creative selves.

2. The second path delves into EXAMINING THE PAST, and how looking at one’s original models of inspiration and creativity cannot only position your designs better, but reinvigorate you in your creative endeavors. That person who stimulated you to become a designer? Look at and educate yourself about their work to inform your future work.

3. Co.Design’s third suggested path towards living a more creative life advises designers to strive to BE MASTERFUL. This path urges designers to do what the great designers do – look for patterns and link two different bodies of knowledge that haven’t existed before. Additionally, look at the obvious, and take what is often deemed banal and make it wholly new.

Personally, some of my best ideas and work have come from retreating into an unplugged environment – that corner of the coffeehouse, the park, or even the shower – where the noise dies down, my head clears, and my eyes are off a screen. As artists and designers, to find these places – whether physically or mentally – is crucial in order to generate effective conduits between you and your next great idea.

Source: Nussbaum, Bruce. “3 Paths Towards a Creative Life.” Co Create, 26 February 2013.

Could This Be The New Frontier of Job Hunting?

In our last post, we talked about how to make your resume better.  We told you that most recruiters only spend 6 seconds on your resume!  Kind of discouraging isn’t it?  Well, it may even be possible that in the near future you may not even need a resume anymore—at least not in the traditional sense. 

What you’re doing online this very second could be the key to job success!  A new start-up based out of Jacksonville, Florida called Path.To is pioneering the movement to not only match you up with your best job, but employers to their best candidates—all by your internet activity.  On their own blog, they call themselves the “e-harmony for jobs.”  The company stresses the benefits that you, the job-seeker, get from using their service.  This includes even small details such as your workplace dress code preference, and what sorts of benefits you expect a job to provide for you.      

Users of social media sites such as GitHub and Dribble, which are aimed at the design industry, will find this especially helpful, as the site aims at specifically incorporating these sites.  However, your Facebook and Twitter accounts won’t go unnoticed.  Path.To uses your public updates to determine how well known you may be, and how much passion you could bring to the industry in which you may be hired for. 

Path.To stresses once again to us the importance of maintaining our cyber footprints.  Depending on the success of Path.To, job hunting techniques like this may become the new norm.   

IIDA Tree, Wreath & Menorah Contest!

Tis the season to spread holiday cheer and IIDA wants to help you show off your spirit! Submit one photo to of your holiday decor and we’ll feature it in an album on our official International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Headquarters facebook page. Over 18,000 people will be inspired by your holiday feature, which guarantees you a spot on Santas “nice” list but even better, the photo with the most “likes” receives a special gift bag from IIDA!

How to enter:

Submit one photo of your holiday wreath, tree or menorah to Subject line: Holiday Cheer

Please give us your name and additional school/company info that you would like to share, along with a photo caption.

Deadline to Enter (extended!): December 21, Winner Announced: December 22

Happy Holidays from IIDA!

IIDA Headquarters is looking for an Intern!

IIDA Headquarters in Chicago is looking to hire a Marketing and Communications intern! I feel so sad posting this, as the current intern, because my time here in the last 6 months has been inspiring and so rewarding. As I move on to work in the high end residential design industry here in Chicago, I cannot imagine where I would be now without this amazing department of people as my mini support group and professional mentors.

Ok, now here are the the details.

  • You need to be enrolled in school and working towards getting a degree in communications, marketing or interior design.
  • You need to be organized and self motivated.
  • You need to have a positive attitude, confidence and be well-spoken.
  • You should know how to use MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint.  Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat and InDesign knowledge a plus.
  • You need to be highly proficient in all things social media such as Twitter, WordPress, Facebook and YouTube.
  • You need to be able to work on a team (an awesome team) and take direction easily.
  • You should know how to Google, research and compose professional emails.
  • You should have lots of energy, enthusiasm, and a strong desire to learn
  • You should have some general interest in interior design.
  • Lastly, you may or may not own leopard print shoes.

Now, I wouldn’t say this internship is easy, but the people on the Marketing and Communications team are easy to work with and very patient. They are very willing to work with your school schedule and be flexible. With NeoCON 2011 right down the road, this internship could provide a unique and super cool behind-the-scenes look into the event.

This internship has my personal stamp of approval, so consider applying today! Also, stay tuned because later this week I will be posting my highly entertaining “top ten” list of things I learned while an intern here at IIDA.

 Click here to apply!

I will miss you guys! Love, Maggie Oldmixon

What To Wear To A Job Interview

With the unemployment rate being higher than ever, first impressions are everything when you are trying to land that job. It is important that you are rightfully dressed for any future interviews. Looking business professional and maintaining a fashionable look is completely possible… (Read the full post here, via The Ray and The Ro blog!)