The hijacking of the profession called “architecture”…

Part 2 – Whose idea was it for us to do “free design consultation”?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Milton Friedman

Asking builders why they offer free design to potential clients is like reading the same book over and over again. Some will say that they do it because they have to, so they can keep their crews busy or they will lose them. Ask designers about free design and they will tell you that giving away your intellectual property is devaluing the design profession as a whole. No matter what the reason is, the public feels that creating designs for them should be free. Where did they get this reasoning from?

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For example, go to any “home improvement center” and ask for a kitchen cabinets quote. The first thing the design consultant will ask you is whether you have a sketch of your kitchen layout. The customer may or may not have one. It does not matter because the same “home improvement center” will offer the design layout for “free”. Whether or not they get the sale or not, the customer will get a good-looking design that they can take home to show off to their friends and relatives. As they show off their 3D representation of their kitchen, they will let others know how they received a “free” design.

The example above is on a small scale versus the various projects that we face every day, but it confirms a trend. From a consumer point of perspective, they’re receiving a free service. The public does not know how many hours the designer had to train to become a designer, how much money the designer had to spend for school or how much the “home improvement center” had invested in training.

The main complaints about “free” design came from Kitchen Design professionals. It could have come from other design professionals (just insert profession here) the arguments are the same? The public is getting sold misinformation about the work we do. Doing any design service takes time. Someone told the public that our services needs to be free. Even in our profession, builders or developers has always pitted one design firm against another to get lower prices for design services. As a professional that’s not a major problem. The real problem occurs when they want premium service for pennies. They can demand it because of consumer’s perceived value of what we do.

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This is another example of who is running our industry. The time and money it takes to educate ourselves to become designers, only to learn that others are running our industry. Whether you are an architect, kitchen designer or interior designer, someone is influencing our profession.

How many marketing dollars went into the concept of “free” design? I wonder if the “home improvement center” hired design professionals as consultants to verify that their business model will work.

The hijacking of “architecture” had to start somewhere. The results are evident.

Part 3 – Endgame

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