ABOUT THE AUTHOR | AD&V® is dedicated to advanced and energy-efficient sustainable architecture & interior design that enhances people’s experience of the world and improves their lives.
It may sound challenging to fully involve your client in the design process.
Last minute suggestions or constant tweaks may happen. But at the end of the day you should design with and for the client. Here’s why!
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF DESIGN
Design is a transformative tool that facilitates the betterment of individuals, businesses, and society. That’s why designers need to pay special consideration to their client’s needs. Each design element serves a specific function.
In interior design, for example, the conscious selection of materials and colors, strategic positioning of carefully chosen light fixtures, and the layout of furniture pieces and partitions inside a room can invite and suggest how individuals behave, circulate and socialize in that space. In architecture, homes can be designed using sustainable elements and safety measures in order to create resilient communities in disaster prone areas.
2. THE MORE YOU COLLABORATE THE BETTER
Approach each project as a partnership of shared vision and passion, following a collaborative process that is mutually beneficial for the client, yourself, and the company you work for. The more you get your client involved and collaborating throughout the design process, the more beneficial it is for you, the designer.
If you don’t involve your client in the design process from the beginning, it’s likely that particulars may be inadvertently excluded and last-minute changes will have to be made that can delay a project. Clients can help spot potential problems or risks early on in the design process if they’re involved from the start. Working closely and in partnership with your clients will help you get the best results.
3. PEOPLE FIRST
Designers design for people. It’s important that as a designer, you do not impose a solution or style on your clients. Instead, you must listen to their concerns, identify their pain points and use your expertise to provide functional and efficient design solutions.
Clients should come first in everything. Organize each project around your clients’ needs, goals, strategies and expectations. We emphasize communication, as it is critical for the success of any project. Whatever your client’s pain points are, address them and provide viable solutions. But make sure you set realistic expectations. Many times, clients do not understand the process or how long things can take. It’s important to work with your clients but educate them as well. It’s also important to maintain good communication with clients to avoid misunderstandings. Aim to help your clients achieve the most positive impact they can with their product. That’s where our value as designers lies.
4. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Talk to your clients regularly about the design you’re working on. Keep them informed. More importantly, if problems arise, as they undoubtedly will, don’t hide them from the client. Instead, explain what is going on and how you plan to solve it. Good client relationships are like any other relationships: they have to have a strong foundation of mutual respect and trust.
Additionally, don’t create a design that you’re not proud of just to make a client happy. Being proud of your designs you create while simultaneously making the client happy, should go hand in hand. A good designer takes a user-centered approach to their designs!
5. USER-CENTERED DESIGNS
A user-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It starts with people and ends with the solutions that are tailored to their individual needs. When you understand the people you are trying to serve and then design from their perspective, not only will you come up with unexpected answers, but you will also come up with new ideas that they will embrace. It’s all about building a deep empathy with the individuals you’re designing for.
User-centered design also creates a unique opportunity to design together with communities. To design in a user-centric way, identify the people who will use the product, what they’ll use it for, and the conditions under which they will use it. Observe people’s lives, hear their hopes and needs, and get smart about your design challenge. Take the user-centric design approach and create innovative designs rooted in people’s actual needs.
6. GO BEYOND DESIGN
Your designs should resonate intrinsically with your client’s brand, customers, and geographic location because it will determine how people feel in that designed space. Thoughtful, innovative design can create wonderful experiences for your clients and/or their customers. This is because different design elements can make people feel comfortable, inspired, happy, relaxed or excited, often without being aware of it.
Your design should address the needs and wants of your clients, the environment and local culture, in order to achieve a sense of place. The best results are achieved when architects, interior designers and builders collaborate to reach the best and most cost effective solutions for their clients.
7. ADD VALUE
Design is a tool that can align the shared values of the users with the identity of the space they inhabit. In other words, design is what makes a space look like the client or brand it represents, and the users it wants to attract. For example, in our Mutual Services Blood Bank project, the design team at AD&V knew they wanted to create a positive space for donors and do away with many of the negative connotations and fears associated with blood donation.
Our design team recommended a look and feel that nearly resembled a spa—clean, airy contemporary, and uplifting. For this renovation, we were working with an existing structure and we wanted to completely transform it. The red poles in the façade were added to the existing building to resemble a “DNA” strand, abstractly representing blood. At the center of the design is the iconic heart symbol, the client’s company logo.
With their ‘heart on their sleeve’, our client hoped their new headquarters would send a message of gratitude to those thousands of donors who literally ‘give of themselves’ in order to save the lives of others.
Designing with and for the client means collaborating and communicating with them, putting people first, focusing on the user’s needs, and adding value to the design. Designing with all these factors in mind will make your design project a success!