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Congratulations to Three New NCIDQ Certified Designers

Helix Architecture + Design recently achieved a design trifecta: interior designers Jessica Irons, Aaron Burson, and Sofia Acosta all received certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

NCIDQ certification is the industry standard for interior architects and designers. As the highest level of professional certification for designers, it recognizes the knowledge and proficiency of interior design principles and a designer’s commitment to the profession. 

Helix’s interior design team was named one of the top ten interior design firms in Kansas City by the Kansas City Business Journal. Collectively, their talents have culminated in more than 230 local, regional, and international awards for thought leadership and excellence in interior design. 

Learn more about Jessica, Aaron, and Sofia below — and maybe even pick up a couple of study tips.

Jessica Irons

How would you describe your design aesthetic

I like to start with a clean aesthetic and then bring in warmth and comfort by layering in aspects from nature. My goal is to create spaces that are inviting and warm, yet functional.

How did you prepare for your exams? Any secrets to your studying?

I began studying the materials months in advance and dedicated a lot of my nights and weekends leading up to the exams to make sure I was prepared. Aaron, Sofia and I did a study group which was helpful to have people to bounce ideas off of and to talk through subjects we were struggling with.

What’s next?

My next goal is to grow my network in Kansas City and continue to improve our community and projects locally, while growing deeper into my role at Helix.

Did you find a particular favorite subject matter?

I enjoyed studying the specifics on all building code requirements, as that was not my area of expertise previously. Now I feel like a well rounded designer with a breadth of knowledge in that area of our profession.

What does this professional achievement mean to you?

Being a little later in my career, this accomplishment means a lot to me. It feels like a large achievement dedicating my time while balancing having a family. I feel like I can do anything with my career now and feel confident in pursuing other accreditations.

Aaron Burson

How would you describe your design aesthetic

I try to make things interesting without being overwhelming. Leaning more modern and minimal, I design spaces that are stripped down to the core of what they need to be, while still focusing on color and creating balance.

What do you look to for inspiration

Lately, hospitality design has been a big inspiration. Typically, people are going to a hotel or restaurant for a unique experience, this allows the designs to cultivate a specific environment, taking more risks and being more bold. It’s like runway fashion, it’s not for the everyday client, it’s meant for art.

How did you prepare for your exams? Any secrets to your studying?

This is something that I knew I was going to take seriously. I began by studying months before the exam in a more casual manner to avoid overwhelming myself. Then, as the exam date drew closer, I joined a study group with Sofia and Jessica. QPractice was an essential part of my studying routine, it was extremely helpful for taking practice exams and understanding how they might test your understanding of different topics.

What’s next?

Now that I’ve successfully completed the NCIDQ exam, I’ve learned the best studying strategies for myself so I feel confident in taking the WELL AP exam eventually.

What does this professional achievement mean to you?

It’s important to me to make sure I understand the professional aspects of this career, and this exam really has helped me understand the life safety implications. It feels good to meet the standard of the industry and to now be considered a professional interior designer.

Sofia Acosta

How would you describe your design aesthetic

I love the clean lines of modern design but really appreciate a balance of texture and material. I have been finding a lot of inspiration in the Japandi style.

How did you prepare for your exams? Any secrets to your studying?

At least two or three times a month, Aaron, Jessica and I would go to a coffee shop after work and talk about our practice tests and what we learned from them. We all used a self paced online course that breaks up the study book into sections for you. Oh, and made about 300 flash cards. 

Any tips for others who are about to take their exams?

Definitely attempt all three in the same testing period. 60% of the first two exams’ contents are the same, so it made it a lot easier to absorb so much information.

What does this professional achievement mean to you?

Design is not very concrete, but NCIDQ is a universally recognized standard. It’s a concrete way for other professionals to know what I’ve accomplished. It’s also a nice foundation to fall back on when exploring design-forward concepts.

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