The design world is unique in its ability to cater to an endless range of niche groups. A career in the design world means providing services for clients who have a variety of needs, whether they’re designing large-scale medical facilities, remodeling a small vacation home or working on something in between.
As a partner at an architecture and interior design firm in Colorado, I have encountered many of these niche groups. Through this experience, I have learned that it is important to recognize each client as distinctive because each one is driven by a different motivation. As a designer, your goal is to transform your client’s motivation into a built environment. Just like what we do in here lcdesigner.ca.
This is why I’ve shared a few tips on how you can better understand a client’s specific needs and ensure a positive experience along the way.
1. Find your client’s why.
Providing high-quality service starts with understanding why the client is choosing to design or redesign a property. Put differently, every project has an underlying goal. For example, my team recently worked with a client who said, “I chose this property because I want more sunsets in my life.” That was their why.
Once you understand your client’s motivation for the design, your team can use that why as an anchor to help guide every decision.
2. Present tangible solutions.
When designing any space, there will always be distinctive challenges and opportunities along the way. To overcome such challenges, a designer needs to be able to present tangible solutions a client can internalize.
Finding a solution should be twofold:
• First, you should envision potential solutions from multiple perspectives, including the client’s, end user’s, neighboring community’s, etc. This will ensure that nothing gets ignored.
• Second, you should use your experience and expertise to propose what you believe is best. Many niche groups are drawn to similar challenges because specific groups often interact with their spaces in similar ways. For instance, when working on a vacation home, my team might suggest making the bedroom closets smaller. This is because second homeowners consistently keep less clothing in their second home than they would in a primary residence.
When a designer understands a niche group, they can better educate their client on the specific benefits and drawbacks of each choice.
3. Be an advocate.
With the majority of communication being remote right now, your team might also need to take on the role and responsibility of representing the client. This means becoming the main point of contact between the contractor, consultants and client at all times. Effective management and communication are of the utmost importance because they allow for the best collaboration. For instance, if your client does not permanently reside where they are designing (such as a vacation homeowner), you will likely need to play a central role and communicate decisions to the client and the contractor in order to make it easier for all parties to find solutions.
In conclusion, a career path in the design world will mean coming in contact with many niche groups. While all projects will be inherently different, understanding different groups will help designers deliver higher-quality service and build better relationships with their clients. Additionally, when designers know their clients’ motivations, they can use that as an anchor to guide them and ultimately advocate for the client to make the most informed decisions.