Written by OFS Author and Sales Manager Maria VanDeman and OFS VP of Research and Insights Doug Shapiro, Design Your World follows the story of Serena, a child who wishes to make more choices in her life but struggles to find elements she can control. Yet, as she watches her grandmother design and care for her home, Serena begins to see the unique freedom of creating her own spaces. With newfound inspiration, she sets out to design her very own room, a space where she has choice. Serena goes on a journey of self-discovery as she learns the power of design. This heartwarming children's book is a reminder that we all have the ability to design our own lives, and that even the smallest choices can make a big difference.
“Design Your World focuses on the importance of design and the impact it can have on one’s daily life and surroundings, especially in youth,” said VanDeman. “As a valuable career path to shape the world around us, interior design can be an outlet for creativity and problem-solving through the art of creating functional and beautiful spaces. We hope to inspire children of all backgrounds and foster a more diverse and equitable world through design that works for everyone.”
In addition to the engaging story, the book also includes links to hands-on activities and tips for young readers to start designing their own spaces. From selecting furniture and accessories to creating mood boards, Design Your World provides a fun and interactive way for children to learn about interior design and understand that design can be both a rewarding career and a powerful life tool.
“Children can sometimes feel powerless over their circumstances. One of the goals of this story is to show how interior design can be a force in their life that not only gives them choice, but can improve the way they feel,” said Shapiro. “This project gives me the opportunity to pay it forward, to inspire a young creative child, and to contribute to a design profession that I so desperately love I hope this book inspires youth to pursue interior design which will begin to close the gap of the lack of representation of BIPOC interior designers and opens children's minds to explore all art forms and design.”
This was a lesson he and Maria learned from the International Interior Design Association’s Cheryl Durst and Tracey Thomas (who are honored in the dedication) that they hope to pass on.
Design Your World was illustrated by Kenzie Leon Perry, a licensed interior designer and creative director of Ze Haus Design Studio. A native of Miami, Kenzie’s designs are inspired by the Black and Caribbean diaspora and the tropics.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book supports the International Interior Design Association's (IIDA) Design Your World program. Design Your World is an education pipeline program driven by the mission to build equity and diversity in the design industry by providing high school students with exposure to the possibilities of a career in design.
About IIDA’s Design Your World Program:
IIDA’s Design Your World program is open to diverse teenagers as young as 13 and provides early exposure to commercial interior design and architectural fields. Design Your World (DYW), is an education pipeline program developed over several years by IIDA to support the Association’s continued mission of making design accessible, inclusive, and diverse. The program, launched in July 2021, serves as a reminder to high school students, 14 to 18 years old, that they have agency and control of their world; they have the ability to build stronger communities that will serve themselves and others. The pilot program was launched in partnership with the education non-profit After School Matters and a contribution from our presenting sponsor OFS, with additional support from 3form, Mannington Commercial, and Configura.
“Kids who had never had power over anything in their lives all of a sudden have the power to create “better” for themselves. Getting to “better” - That’s what design does… for everyone,” said Cheryl S. Durst, IIDA CEO and Executive Vice President. “Our goal is for students to consider design as an accessible profession, but also to feel something—for design to prompt a reaction to their environment in a deeper way and for that feeling to create a ripple effect across the country.”
The program builds an understanding of what it can look like to design spaces and places, products and textiles, or to be a rep, project manager or business owner; students leave with examples of how to make a path for themselves in a creative or design-oriented field. In addition to continuing the program in each existing city, there are plans to expand the program year by year, offering a curriculum and instructors that represent the diversity of the students, and the cities in which they live.
“With Design Your World, IIDA, its partners, and sponsors are hoping to impact the industry with a significant shift in the make-up of who feels encouraged to pursue design as a career, both now and in the future,” Durst continued, “And more importantly, impact the trajectory of the students, as they begin to explore what they want to pursue as a career, and what kind of world they want to create.”
Hear more from the authors and illustrator on The Imagine a Place podcast:
OFS is a family-owned contract furniture manufacturer dedicated to crafting experiences and products that contribute to places where people want to be. Founded in 1937, OFS provides furniture and logistics solutions for office, healthcare, education, lifestyle, hospitality, government, and home office markets worldwide, offering seating, tables, casegoods, and open plan products. The brands, Carolina and Bryan Ashley are OFS companies. OFS is based in Huntingburg, Indiana.
ABOUT IMAGINE A PLACE PRODUCTIONS
Imagine a Place Productions gathers industry-leading voices that can inspire the design community through storytelling and broaden our creative horizons. The goal of Imagine a Place Productions is to further elevate the belief that the places we make and the ways we design them matter in our lives.
OFS Press Contact: Aaron Estabrook - firstname.lastname@example.org