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Get Smart! 3 Easily Accessible Educational Seminars for Busy Interior Designers

Don’t be discouraged by a massive course catalog. Sometimes, the best learning opportunities are those that come to you.

Jennifer Pinto
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A quote by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli bedecks a busy corner in Chicago’s River North Arts District. Photo by Kate Bauer.
A quote by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli bedecks a busy corner in Chicago’s River North Arts District. Photo by Kate Bauer.

Emblazoned in black and white against the red brick of an office building on a busy corner of Chicago’s River North Arts District are the words of Italian design master Massimo Vignelli: “Styles come and go. Good Design is a language, not a style.” Interior designers can hone that language with educational seminars from High Point to Lightfair and everywhere in between. But with so many to choose from (and so little time to actually do them), it’s hard to know where to begin.

Here are a few convenient courses that will get designers going on the right track. 

GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training Online 
Hosted by: The Sustainable Furnishings Council 

From how we travel to the products we use, the choices we make have a huge impact on our planet. As tastemakers and gatekeepers for the home furnishings and materials people bring into their homes, designers can play a critical role in protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions, avoiding harmful pollutants and using more sustainable resources in the interiors they create. The Sustainable Furnishings Council offers an online version of its GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training course to help designers get started – when and where it’s convenient for them. The popular six-hour course arms industry professionals with a comprehensive knowledge of the current sustainability landscape as well as what they’ll need to know to source green products, design green interiors and sell green solutions.

Cost: $299 with a 50 percent discount for students and educators.

Registration: sustainablefurnishings.org

Pro Tip: Recently updated, this course is Green Business Certification Inc.-approved for 6 CE hours, and it is registered with Interior Design Continuing Education Council for 0.6 HSW CEUs.  

Specify Colour with Confidence Live Workshops 

Hosted by: Maria Killam

Pablo Picasso famously questioned, “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?” Color expert Maria Killam may well be on to the answer thanks to her extensive research, which she culminates into her proprietary system, Understanding Undertones. “You can think of it as the periodic table for neutrals,” Killam says on her website. “It gives you a clear sense of how to organize colors into useful categories to predict how they will behave in any space.” Designers can tap into Killam’s expertise by attending live color workshop at convenient locations across the country. Stops in 2017 include March 29-31, in Austin, TX; April 4-6, in Toronto; and May 24-26 in San Francisco; as well as a sold out visit to Chicago in May.

Cost: $2,247 (payable in two installments)

Registration: mariakillam.com

Pro Tip: Designers and “design enthusiasts” can also learn Killam’s method from the comfort of their couch. The 60-minute webinar “Choose Exterior Colour with Confidence” costs $297.

Lighting Fundamentals Online

Hosted by: The Lighting Education Institute (LEI)

Often overlooked, lighting is arguably one of the most important ingredients in a well-appointed living space, enhancing its aesthetics and creating ambience. In LEI’s on-demand lighting course, interior designers can learn the fundamentals of architectural lighting via six 90-minute webinars led by Craig Bernecker, founder and director of The Lighting Education Institute. Designers will also gain access to a dedicated website that houses course materials, weekly assignments and interactive forums with Bernecker and fellow participants.

Cost: $595

Registration: lightingeducation.com.

Pro tip: Check out Bernecker in person at this year’s Lightfair International. Those who have previously completed Basic Lighting can register for the two-day Intermediate Lighting course, taught by Bernecker, May 7-8, in Philadelphia. Bernecker will also lead a Light Sources Basics course on Wednesday, May 10. For more information visit the programs and events section at lightfair.com


Think you'll sign up for any of these courses? Let us know which ones in the comments section!

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