IDC celebrates 50 years of interior design

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Since 1972, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) has been the national advocacy association for the interior design profession. This year IDC is celebrating its 50th anniversary and invites members to join in the festivities.

To commemorate the milestone, IDC has created a multi-faceted campaign to celebrate interior design and IDC members. The campaign will focus on honouring designers, storytelling, and showcasing diverse perspectives through the decades – from the early 70s to today, and into the future.

“Our hope is to archive IDC’s history through the collection of stories from those who were engaged in those initial conversations about the possibility of a national association, back in the early 1970s,” says Trevor Kruse, IDC CEO.  “We want to preserve memories and pay tribute to those who paved the way for the industry that we all enjoy today and for the future of interior design.”

Throughout the year, IDC will share articles about interior design trailblazers in the early years who have shaped the organization, honour notable designers who created the much-needed changes both within the industry and at IDC, and share ideas about the future of design from members who will carry the legacy.

A 50th anniversary task force has been formed to help the IDC team gather research, collect quotes, and conduct interviews with members, starting with the IDC founders about their experiences of working as an interior designer and starting up the association.

One of those founders recently interviewed was Saskatchewan-based interior designer, Doris Hasell, who along with many other dedicated volunteers, helped build IDC from the ground up. Unfortunately, some of the original founders have passed on, but those who are still around, like Hasell, have fond memories of those early years.

She says the impetus for her was that the Interior Designers Association of Saskatchewan (IDS) needed the support, contacts, and public relations from a national organization and that IDC, once formed, would need the same from each province. IDS was formed in 1968 by eight interior designers in Saskatoon and was one of the original signatories to the IDC charter in May 1972, thus formalizing IDS with the Saskatchewan government.

“Progress was slow in the beginning, pre-computers and emails; we relied on the post and telephone,” says Hasell. “I think that it took us about three years, and provincial representatives often changed, and agreement of French/English translation of minutes, for example, was always slow and challenging.”

Hasell shares that the practice of interior design in the 70s was different and often challenging because designers had to draw blueprints by hand, write specs on a typewriter, keep a library of numerous resources, run around between clients, architects, engineers, and blue printers.

“I usually sold my design ideas by rendering coloured perspectives,” she says. “All of this took time and was tedious work.”

Fifty years later, Hasell is hopeful that the interior design profession will become more visible, and more designers will become licenced. She believes it will keep the profession going for many more decades to come.

Many others in those early years were instrumental in helping to create the national association, including early presidents, board members, and an army of volunteers – something that’s stayed unchanged at IDC to this day.

Marilyn Donoghue, a dedicated volunteer, who served as IDC’s president from 1974 to 1975, recalls what those first foundational meetings looked like.

She says that in 1971 there was a momentous change in the structure of what was then called Interior Designers of Ontario (IDO), currently the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO).

“The younger designers, educated at Ryerson, University of Manitoba and the Ontario College of Art [now the Ontario College of Art and Design University], revamped the organization, and a trio of designers: Ken Thompson, Jack Bell, and Howard Taylor took the reigns for three consecutive years each serving as president,” says Donoghue.

Donoghue has had an illustrious career in interior design, holding positions in government and affecting meaningful change in the industry over the last five decades. She is a Life member of ARIDO and a Fellow of both ARIDO and IDC.

“I see a great future in design particularly along the lines of research including the impact of design in many environments,” she says.

A series of video interviews will be published throughout this year, along with a video presentation that will be shared with members at IDC’s 50th Annual Meeting this fall. IDC will continue to reach out to members for various articles and research projects.

As the campaign is ongoing through the year, IDC invites all current and past members, industry partners, former clients, and members of the public to send in any interesting stories, images, or anecdotes to the IDC communications team ( to share across IDC’s social media channels.


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