Creative Genius Podcast

Season 9 Episode 3

The Design World is Changing (Kaitlin Petersen)

The Design World is Changing (Kaitlin Petersen)

Four years ago the interior design industry came to a grinding halt as the pandemic swept the globe. And then, almost as quickly, the industry began to bounce back. Again, to most everyone’s surprise, it went from bounce to boom. Amongst all that turbulence came a lot of changes. Today’s interior design industry is not the same as it was four years ago. With the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, designers can expect more change ahead.

In this episode, Gail talks with Kaitlin Petersen, editor-in-chief of Business of Home. The website describes itself as the daily media of record for the home industry and the voice of authority for interior design professionals. Kaitlin has been with Business of Home for seven years but has been writing about the style and design trade for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home and Veranda, as well as Chicago, Texas Monthly, Time Out New York, and the international editions of Vanity Fair and Vogue.

Gail asked Kaitlin what changes she’s seen in the industry during her tenure with Business of Home. She said the biggest change she’s witnessed is that clients are getting smarter. They are more knowledgeable about design, products and the design process. They are well-versed in Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, and other online sources of design information. As a result, they want to be more involved in decisions about design or aesthetics, budget and how the project should be managed.

A big challenge for designers, said Kaitlin, is that as a result of doing their own research, clients are not always well or properly informed. They may come to a project with misinformation and unrealistic expectations. Designers have to be prepared to educate or re-educate their clients so as to counter their erroneous preconceived notions about design and their project.

On the flip side, Kaitlin said, these more knowledgeable clients have forced more designers to re-think and justify their value proposition. More of them can now articulate and defend why they are billing as they do. They can draw a straighter line between what they bring to the project and their fee structure.

Looking to the future, Kaitlin said she thought the big thing for designers to watch is AI. She does not see AI as a threat to replacing designers’ talent and experience. However, it could have some upsides, as a useful trigger for inspiration and potentially to help streamline routine business operations.

During their conversation, Kaitlin also talked about how she had to overcome her anxiety about “impostor syndrome,” the 50 States Project she’s undertaken, and recent hiring trends in the industry. For all that and her advice for design business owners, listen to the entire podcast.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in This Podcast

Gail has been contributing articles to Business of Home. You can read Gail’s articles here.

You can take the 2024 Interior Designers Survey here.

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