Designing for YOU!
Happy Friday Ya'll!
You would think that finding time to blog would be no issue? The thought of ranting and raving, giving a one sided opinion and thinking that people all over the world will read this and alter their lives existence based on my few short paragraphs would be the top of the list for an extrovert, control freak like me!....Alas I find myself struggling to find inspiration in words with the Spring blossoms upon us- wonder what the flowers would say if they had a blog?
I came across my idea for a blog while on the phone with a potential client the other day. This particular client was looking to use some of my services and had spent time on my web page portfolio and Instagram posts. She seemed eager to work together but there was one thing that was stumping her.....it was her concern that her and I may not share the same 'design taste'. She proceeded to ask me the question '...what is your design taste? I just want to make sure we have the same style before we proceed to work together.' While pondering my response, I was surprised as I had never really been asked this question by a client in the 9 years that I have spent in the design industry. I realized that I needed to hurry up with a response due to my lengthily pondering! (They do say that after 4 seconds of silence it becomes awkward?) I refined my thoughts and my response was something like this- 'Well I love eclectic personally, however my 'design tastes' quite quickly becomes your 'design tastes' the minute we start to develop your project together.' She repeated that she had concern our 'tastes don't match up' based on my portfolio to which I felt the INEVITABLE need to reassure her that the portfolio photos she was looking at were styled and design to the 'design tastes' and preferences of my past and current clients. Long story short- I discovered this potential client has had multiple meeting with Designers and has found that in each consultation the Design Consultant crammed their own personal style(s) down her throat- and then get this...charged her for it (!!??!) THUS the content of my blog today.
As a Design Consultant the number one, numero uno job on my list is to listen to my clients. I am there to hear their needs, want, dreams, hates, loves and 'design tastes'. A Professional Designer's goal should be to take a briefing from the client(s) and develop a design inspiration using all of this wonderful shared information. It is a template to begin the design process and any great Designer should have no problem translating the clients brief into a well functioning, perfectly suited space for the homeowners to enjoy and adore for years to come! That is LITERALLY what a Design Consultant is paid for...however...and here comes the big 'BUTTTTTTTT WAIT'...this industry is laden with 'Design Professionals/Contractors' that really do not have the ability to complete the simple task of developing a design consultation or briefing. These types tend to come back to you with comments like 'No- I think we should do it this way' or 'This is how I designed my house' or 'No- you don't want those kind of floors- we should pick these floors, I use them all the time in my projects'. These types of 'Consultants' like to stick to what they know. Stay inside the box, really.- why try something new? To this I simply say show them to the door- and close it fast before they try and talk their way back into your job! I would not and could not imagine why ANYONE would choose the Construction/Design Industry without the necessary passion to explore design and new ideas?! This is why I strongly feel it is NOT important what the Designers personal style is, (though sometimes it does help) what IS important is that the Design has he ability to adapt to multiple design styles while injecting the clients personal narrative, proper space planning and function to the details.
To truly gain an understanding of my new client(s) I need to 'shed' my 'personal tastes' and put on my listening ears the moment I ring their doorbell. I have worked with too many Designers and Contractors that push their own agenda to 're-create' the same look- BORING! I can understand that a client may see a portfolio and fall in love with a previous design and have a preference for the 'look' being used in their application---a good Designer will be driven give the client what they are asking for but will also have the drive to create something special and different for you, using the 'bones' of a previous portfolio design. A bad designer will just keep on spitting out cookie cutter spaces and stick to their fundamentals, because it is safe there-again- BORING! A Designer that cannot create new ideas and vision is following a path of ease, but a Designer that has these abilities aspires to travel the path of artistry and passion! Why wouldn't you want that for your project!? Unless you prefer boring and simple- but hey sometimes that works for people too! Like I said earlier, MY personal design tastes are not what is important- it is my ability to fully understand my clients expectations and 'design tastes' and then translate and develop this with them-whatever that may be!