From Graphic Design to Interior Design: A Creative Journey of Reinvention

By Diane Cashen, Associate ASID

For the first two or so decades of my professional life, I thrived in the world of graphic design, serving as a staff artist, freelance artist, art director and creative director at an assortment of companies across print and digital media. My passion for creativity was the fuel for the work but, as time passed, I wanted a fresh canvas to explore. This led me on a path from pixels to patterns and from graphic design to the enchanting realm of interior design. It wasn’t a sudden leap but rather an evolution sparked by a series of experiences and reflections.

I have always enjoyed decorating, redecorating and completely re-imagining my own homes over the years, especially during seasons and holidays. So, I took a job at a fine furniture boutique where I was drawn to the intricacies of space-planning and the art of shaping cohesive interiors. I soon found myself constantly making house calls to help place furniture, rugs and all kinds of accessories, keepsakes and family heirlooms, thus providing me the opportunity to see how others love and care for their own spaces. Embracing this new kinesthetic medium, I decided to dive into the professional world of interior design with my own business.

I built my business on the fundamentals of art and design principles, including color, balance, harmony, proportion, contrast and variety. I honed my skills over time, endeavoring to create harmony while transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary havens of form and function for my clients. I realized the principles of visual communication, composition and client interaction that I had used daily in graphic design proved to be invaluable assets in my new career. Whether conceptualizing a bathroom tile mosaic or selecting the right color palette for a room’s lighting, my graphic design expertise has consistently lent a unique perspective to my approach to interior design. Occasionally, I must paint a picture for my clients.

Illustrations and layout by Diane Cashen, Associate ASID

As I have grown and evolved, I have expanded my skill set to encompass a wide range of specialties within the field. From designing custom window treatments to crafting detailed room plans, I use every opportunity to refine my work and always try to push the boundaries of creativity. Along the way, I have sought additional training and educational opportunities and will continue to do so, deepening my knowledge and expertise in the ever-evolving world of interior design.

Through my journey, I have had the privilege of transforming many spaces and creating homes that reflect the unique personalities and lifestyles of my clients. My goal is always to exceed my client’s expectations. From cozy living rooms to elegant dining areas as well as revitalizing kitchens and baths, I strive to ensure that each project is a testament to the transformative power of design.

Of course, transitioning to interior design has not been without its challenges. I faced a steep learning curve to become familiar with the nuances of materials, furniture styles and architectural elements. I discovered that I needed to think about health, safety, welfare, budgets, codes and contracts – so many details.  In addition, I have had to learn business skills. Still, I find I’m continuously rewarded as I learn and build on the lessons and perspectives gained from each client, project and the occasional “whoopsie.”

To those considering a similar career shift, I offer this advice: embrace your passion, trust in your abilities and be open to new opportunities. Whether you are transitioning from graphic design to interior design or embarking on any other creative endeavor, remember that every experience and every challenge is an opportunity for growth and reinvention. Surround yourself with mentors, seek hands-on experience and never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — just be honest when you do. Keep your client’s needs and dreams in mind and follow your heart.

What began as a desire for a fresh challenge, has blossomed into a rewarding career filled with creativity and endless possibilities, new friendships and business alliances.  Best of all, joy has come with knowing that I have made a difference in the lives of nice people along the way.