I took the plunge and made the exciting decision to enrol with the National Design Academy (NDA) to study their distance learning Interior Design Diploma course in 2011. My passion for and interest in interior design started when I purchased my first home (many, many years ago) and as a result I was very eager to further develop my knowledge and understanding of the principles of interior design. When I initially enrolled for the course, my overall goal was to branch out into interior design but I kept my options fairly open at that stage; especially as I already had a full time job as a Manager in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
I chose to study the Interior Design Diploma at the National Design Academy primarily because of its AIM Awards accreditation; the clear and detailed descriptions of the modules on the website and the fact that it could be studied via distance learning. The distance learning element of this course was of great importance because of my other commitments (both work and personal) and it meant that I could achieve a good balance between work, my personal life and study.
Admittedly, it can take a little bit of time to adapt to this method of learning, however because I was allocated my own tutor and could avail of the NDA’s student forum, there were lots of opportunities to seek advice, guidance and support. The student forum was also a great tool to meet and interact with other like minded people, who shared a similar interest in design. Actually, I had bonded with so many NDA students that I arranged an unofficial field trip! You can read about this awesome event on my blog. And even though I’m no longer studying at the NDA, I’m still in contact with many NDA students (both past and present). A true to testament to the friendships that can be made via distance learning!
Whilst studying the diploma, I became aware of various CAD software applications and quickly immersed myself in this virtual world. I taught myself how to use AutoCAD, SketchUp (3D modelling) and Maxwell Render (photo-real rendering) to help support my studies (this isn’t a requirement of the course). As I continued to develop my skills and understanding of SketchUp and Maxwell Render, I started to provide a freelancing service to professional Interior Designers, where I created photo-real 3D visuals of their design schemes. The photo-real 3D visuals were then shown to their clients to illustrate how their personal space would be transformed. My study of interior design has also proved incredibly useful, as many of the Interior Designers would ask for my assistance when designing schemes and I feel confident in doing so.
In early 2014 I decided to focus on developing my role as a 3D Visualiser and undertook many more professional and unique commissions to help raise my profile. Anita Brown Design Studio was officially born!
There’s a very important point that I’d like to make and it’s this: without undertaking my study of the Diploma in Interior Design, I would never have become aware of the existence of 3D visualisation and for that I’m truly grateful to the NDA. It’s also for this reason that I highly recommend studying with the NDA. I found the course challenging, highly interesting and very stimulating.
2014 has been a very exciting year for Anita Brown Design Studio, I’ve had my work showcased at Grand Designs Live in London, Maxwell Render has published my work (and a case study) on their website (they now use the 3D visual of my vintage Edison bulb as their official photo on all of their social media platforms) and I’ve had the opportunity to work on many high profile events with an amazing event design company in London. My blog was also short-listed in the Design Inspiration category of the Amara Interior Blog Awards. I can only hope that 2015 will provide as many exciting and successful opportunities!