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18.08.2013    |    posted by: Natasha Fowler    |    comments: 0

I found a blog recently by Jessie Ford aimed at clients working with graphic designers.  The points made were remarkably also great advice for all clients of those working with people in the design industry so I have included some of her comments below and come up with my own slightly adapted version aimed at clients hiring and working with interior designers:

“Sometimes, we are mistaken for being the people who just ‘make things look pretty’ and while that’s (kind of) true, we possess a multitude of skills and talents beyond the ability to pretty things up.

It’s important to know how to work with a designer to reap the full benefits of the creative mind you have at your fingertips.  Following these tips will help someone like me help someone like you deliver the exact product that you want – the perfect picture that isn’t just pretty, but serves a purpose, communicates a clear message, sells an idea and reaches the target audience.

What you may think is ‘quick’ or ‘easy’ is not always.

It’s easy to use terms like ‘throw this together’ and ‘simple’ when referring to a specific round of edits / revisions and a turnaround for a project, but you may not be aware of all of the behind the scene work that takes place for that to happen.”

A finished set of documentation drawings or even the finished constructed interior may appear to look simple, clean and straightforward as a finished product but they take endless hours and refined skill knowledge to get you to that point.  

“Keep in mind all of the creative brainstorming, sketching, drafts, revisions, and more that were required.  Good designers are equipped with the talent and skills to work quickly and efficiently, but not lighting fast, 100% of the time.”

Brilliant ideas and communicating them, takes time.

“Take these thoughts into consideration the next time you’re thinking of putting together a budget and timeline for a project.  Most people know that it requires significant time and effort to turn nothing into something – and anything worth doing is worth doing right.  The same applies to (interior) design.”

Think about the purpose of the space and how you intend to use it.
What is your vision for the interior?  You don’t have to picture it perfectly in your mind, but do have a general sense for what you want (or don’t want).  Think about colours, finishes, the general aesthetic and try to come up with words to describe your ideal space to give your designer insight into your train of thought.

Avoid terms such as ‘surprise me’.
“During brainstorms and pre-design conversations, it’s common for a designer to hear these words, but not gain anything useful from them.  Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, but try to be somewhat specific and organised with your general thoughts and ideas.

Do you want your (interior) to resemble something else you’ve seen or done?  A designer loves to have ‘creative freedom’, but he or she also needs a few limitations, or at least what the client doesn’t want.  They may seem like little things, but let the designer know colours you hate, and things to avoid.  This will help the designer in a few small ways, which will result in less wasted time later.”

Once you sign off on a design or design stage, try not to make revisions later on approved items:
General revisions and updates are a given with any design project and form part of the design development process to evolve into the ideal design, but do try to limit the revision requests.  “Also, try to collect and send revisions in one email or discuss during one phone call.  Avoid sending John’s revisions separately from Jane’s, not to mention the other three people’s changes involved in the reviewing and approval process.”

Other points to note:

  •  “Remember that certain colours stimulate specific types of emotion.  Cooler colours such as blues and greens evoke a sense of calmness.  Warmer colours such as reds and oranges will make someone feel more of a sense of energy and passion.  Think about these theories when considering and choosing a colour palette.

  • Most of the time, a designer has a good reason for doing something.  Maybe you never considered the effects that certain colours, finishes and design elements have and the way they all work together in a cohesive design, but they’re the basic ingredients that a designer cooks with everyday, so learn to trust them.

  • Put trust in the designer and give that person creative freedom – but don’t send the designer into battle unarmed and unprepared.  Communicating your basic ideas, visions, and target audience and giving him or her a few references will benefit both of you.

  • Understanding and respecting what a designer does, the time and effort that goes into what they do and providing background information into your ideas will result in a better quality end product, which will only make both of you happy.”


Portions of article sourced from Jessie Ford, a graphic designer at CMA (@CMABuildsTrust), a national public relations agency based in Kansas City, USA.

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