SBID History

The Society of British & International Design (SBID) was founded in 2009 by Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE. Since its incorporation SBID has lobbied at the House of Commons for change to regulation of interior design as a profession. As the representative member for the interior design industry within the All-party lobby group for business, SBID provides the British economy with evidence of the annual financial growth for commercial design as an industry.

SBID is the only British interior design organisation to be inducted into the ECIA (in the Council’s twenty year history) – the highest level of measured knowledge and best practice for interior design throughout Europe. As the standard-bearer for professional British interior design, she developed new markets in the UK where previously, due to a lack of standards, Britain had been excluded. SBID placed Britain on a level playing field within Europe and globally amongst counterpart organisations, creating a British standard of education, competence and practice for the first time.

Dr Vanessa Brady

The education-based route to accreditation of a British Interior Designer was first established and launched in the UK by the Society of British and International Design in 2009. Originally adopted from the ECIA Charter of Education, it states that professional accreditation requires:

  • 4 years of measured education with a degree in interior design or overlapping sectors
  • 2 years of work experience

Totaling 6 years of training and industry work experience to be accredited.

To ensure continued learning and improvement of accredited designers, SBID incorporated the life-long learning requirement of 24 SBID recognised CPD points p.a. and valid Professional Indemnity Insurance to its accreditation criteria.

This standard was later revised to take consideration of the shorter timeframe of a degree course in the UK which is often completed within two or three years compared with the four year degree course in Europe when the ECIA rule was created. It was also revised to encourage designers who had not acquired the European Council of Interior Architects entry criteria (listed above) to continue to improve.

This allowed a UK Interior Designer with a qualifying two year degree to be an Accredited Designer which the original criteria prevented.

The current entry level for an SBID Accredited Interior Designer requires:

  • 3 years of measured education with a degree in interior design or overlapping sectors
  • 3 ½ years of work experience in the field of design

Total: 6 ½ years of training and industry work experience + 24 SBID recognised CPD points p.a. and Professional Indemnity Insurance

In 2009, under a Memorandum of Understanding between SBID and educators at a variety of universities, groups and forums, an agreement was formed to improve the outcome of course content for a career in the commercial environment. However, due to varying outcomes, in review SBID dissolved the initiative. In 2011, the initiative was revived only with individual universities empowered to provide an interior design degree.

In three years, SBID grew to become the largest professional membership interior design organisation in Britain and the second largest (to Germany) in Europe among the 16-member qualifying countries of the ECIA. In 2011 she launched the SBID International Design Awards to recognise, reward and celebrate talented businesses and individuals in the industry and the awards have since continued to be regarded as one of the most prestigious acknowledgment of global design excellence

In 2015 SBID were awarded independent status by the government to measure interior design education and accredit university course content for interior design degrees. The accreditation relates to measured educational and business processes forming part of each universities central government funding status.

SBID acts as an independently accredited inspector of course content ensuring each course meets all-inclusive standards. SBID assess how fit-for-purpose tuition transfers to the commercial world and interprets the data into a ‘standard’ fed back into the treasury.

In 2018, Vanessa launched SBID Designed for Business, a new national design competition for final year creative students and graduates across Interior Design, Decoration, Fashion, Art & Design to submit their final year projects for a chance to win £30,000. The competition aims to showcase emerging talent in each industry as well as providing the link in nurturing relationships between those in studies and the working industry.


2019 represents The Society of British & International Design’s 10th year anniversary! To celebrate, SBID will be showcasing their business achievements each month as well as celebrating at the best international design events including Salone Del Mobile and Maison & Objet, the finale of celebrations will end at the International Design Awards in October.

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