Requirements at a Glance

  • 3 years working as a lead designer
  • 2-4 portfolio projects
  • Ability to demonstrate competence in 5-7 domains of practice

Terms to Know

  • Attestation – Signed form from client or other individual verifying that you have demonstrated competency.
  • Demonstration – The evidence you submit that shows competency in a domain.
  • Domain– A specific area of proficiency within the architectural lighting design profession.
  • Exhibit – Illustrative evidence to support your written responses on the application, such as sketches, plans, photographs, and compliance documentation.
  • Project – Lighting designs for commissioned work, such as commercial, cultural, hospitality, residential, or retail.
  • Review – The evaluation of your application.

Who is Eligible?

To apply for the CLD, candidates must have a minimum of three (3) years of experience working as a lead lighting designer responsible for:

  • Creating lighting design strategy and crafting lighting design concepts for client projects
  • Documentation related to project design solutions
  • Conveying and exchanging ideas with the client and project team
  • Meeting project design deadlines
  • Providing advice throughout the implementation process
  • Guiding the outcome of the developed and documented design
In addition, candidates must have two to four projects in their portfolio to be used to demonstrate competence.

Domains of Practice

The seven domains of practice define the core competencies for lighting design professionals worldwide and provide a standard for measuring the performance of CLD candidates.

Eligible lighting designers who are professional members of an approved lighting design association must demonstrate proficiency in five of the seven domains (collaboration and stewardship are excluded). All other applicants must demonstrate proficiency in all seven. Membership in a lighting association is not a precondition for certification, however.
The domains of practice are:

  1. Goals and OutcomesThe creation of the lighting concept that satisfies the project requirements and the design intent so the solution performs as predicted.
  2. CollaborationInteraction with other disciplines by serving as an integral member of the team so that lighting relates to its context and adds value to the project.
  3. IngenuityThe contribution of ideas that demonstrate innovation, creativity, originality, imagination, or resourcefulness to foster the goals of the project.
  4. SynthesisThe integration of the technical and aesthetic elements of lighting with space and form.
  5. ScienceThe application of the principles of light to meet project relevant technical criteria.
  6. StewardshipThe response of lighting to known and potential environmental impact.
  7. Human ExperienceThe design of lighting solutions that positively affect people.

Demonstrations and Exhibits

To demonstrate your proficiency, you must complete written responses, in English, to application questions about each domain. In addition, you must submit illustrative evidence – called exhibits – for each of the domains except collaboration.

The number of demonstrations of each domain required varies depending on whether you are a professional member of an approved lighting design association, as indicated here:

Domain Professional Members of Approved Lighting Design Associations All Other Applicants
1. Goals & Outcomes 1 1
2. Collaboration 0 1
3. Ingenuity 1 1
4. Synthesis 1 1
5. Science 1 1
6. Stewardship 0 1
7. Human Experience 1 1

You may submit up to three exhibits per demonstration for each of the domains to support your responses. Examples of exhibits include sketches, plans, photographs, and code and energy compliance documentation.

Exhibits should be provided from at least two unique project types, such as commercial, cultural, hospitality, residential, or retail. Although your application must include both interior and exterior projects, it is not necessary to satisfy each domain with an interior and exterior example.

All projects must have been completed within the past seven years or be in the process of being implemented. For a full listing of acceptable exhibits and project types, consult the CLD Candidate Handbook.

Attestation Forms

You need to provide an attestation form for each project used as part of your application. The form should be signed by a client or relevant individual. The online application tool also features a digital version of the form.

The purpose of the form is to confirm that you – either alone, or as lead lighting designer for a team –- designed the project and were responsible for delivery of the solution.

Application Review

Your completed application will be sent to trained reviewers for evaluation. The review process is double-blind, meaning the reviewers do not know your identity nor the identity of the others reviewing your application. The certification review process takes approximately four to six weeks.

There are three possible outcomes:

  1. You achieve certification. Congratulations, you will be able to use CLD after your name. Your name will be listed on the CLD web site, formal notification will be sent to your employer, and you will receive a certificate suitable for framing, as well as a press release and formal announcements to use for notifying clients of your accomplishment.
  2. You will be asked to submit additional information. If reviewers request additional information for no more than two domains, you will have the opportunity to respond and submit clarifying material within four months.
  3. You do not achieve certification. If reviewers determine you did not demonstrate competency in three or more domains, you will need to reapply (including paying the application fee). You can appeal a decision only after you have re-applied following an initial rejection.

Approved Lighting Design Associations

  • Association des Concepteurs Lumière Éclairagistes  (ACE)
  • Asociación Profesional de Diseñadores de Iluminación (APDI)
  • Associazione Professionisti dell’illuminazione (APIL) 
  • Associação Brasileira de Arquitetos de Iluminação (AsBAI)
  • International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD)