April 2, 2024   

IALD Eases Business Restrictions, Broadens Membership

2024 04 IALD eases business restrictions royalties membership.jpg

Certain business practices for lighting design members now permitted.  Association's name change narrowly misses two-thirds vote.


The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) recently concluded its Vote 2023, marking significant changes in its ongoing efforts to adapt and evolve in response to the changing dynamics of the association and the global lighting design profession.

This year's voting period, held from January 22 to March 6, 2024, saw a participation rate of 32%, aligning closely with the turnout for the 2023 and 2024 IALD Board Elections, which was 30%.

Two major proposals were on the ballot, each aimed at shaping the future direction of the association and its members. The results were as follows:


NOT APPROVED:  Association Name Change:

The proposal to change the association's name from “International Association of Lighting Designers” to "International Association of Lighting Design" was not approved, with 64.4% in favor but falling slightly short of the required two-thirds majority. This proposed change aimed to more accurately reflect the association's broad mission, extending beyond individual designers to encompass the entire field of lighting design.


APPROVED:  Membership Structure, Bylaws & Ethics Revisions

The second proposal, which included changes to the membership structure, bylaws, and the adoption of a new Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct, received approval from 70.9% of the voting members. This marks a significant step forward in modernizing the IALD, removing past business model restrictions and ensuring its principles align with contemporary professional and societal values.

The updated Code of Ethics emphasizes principles such as integrity, transparency, non-discrimination, and a commitment to sustainability, reflecting a shift towards more progressive professional standards.

The approved changes to the membership structure and the new Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct are set to introduce a more accessible and relevant framework for both current and aspiring members.


Removing Restrictions on Royalties and Other Business Models:

Historically, lighting design professionals who earned royalties from fixture specifications or engaged in buying and selling lighting for projects were ineligible for IALD membership. This issue has been a long-standing topic within IALD circles. Now, there is a shift toward modernizing the bylaws to permit certain business practices, thereby lifting previous restrictions on membership.

The association previously mandated that "IALD Members shall not accept fees, commissions, or any other consideration of value from anyone attempting to compromise the IALD Member's professional judgment or in return for specifying a particular lighting or lighting-related product for a specific project, except from clients or employers for whom services are being performed." However, the IALD has now voted to eliminate these restrictions, emphasizing a broader commitment to transparency and disclosure: "IALD Members shall disclose in writing any known or potential conflicts of interest to their clients and employers by promptly informing them of any business association, interest, or other circumstances that could influence or appear to influence their judgment in the performance of services."


Membership structure changes:

The revised membership categories aim to broaden the potential membership base to include less experienced designers or individuals in professions related to lighting design who may not have qualified for membership before. Previously, there were two membership categories: Fellow and Professional, with the latter still requiring seven years of experience in lighting design, among other criteria.

The IALD consistently maintains a professional membership of around 1,500 lighting design professionals globally. Expanding the membership structure will not only increase the organization's density but also generate essential funds for key priorities.

Two new membership categories are being introduced: Design and Member.

  • Lighting Design Experience Requirements: 0-7 years of practice.
  • Voting Rights: Full voting rights.
  • Application Pathways:
    • Academic degree in Lighting.
    • Membership committee review of resume.
    • Recommendation letters.



According to IALD, the Member category is open to all professionals in the lighting design environment with an interest to be part and contribute to the community of the IALD. In the past, the Affiliate category was open in the same way to professionals from manufacturing companies, architects, engineers, industrial designers, etc. The member category embraces now students, educators, retired and honorary members, while fostering the integration of professionals working for Lighting Industry Resource Council (LIRC) companies.

  • Experience Requirements: Open to all.
  • Voting Rights: No voting rights.
  • Application Pathways: Online application, open to all.


Proposed member structure.jpg  Image:  IALD


The IALD's recent Vote 2023 outcomes highlight the association's dedication to modernizing the lighting design business model while also allowing for a larger and more diverse body of members. With the adoption of revised membership structures and ethical guidelines, the IALD reaffirms its role as a global advocate for the evolving lighting design profession.