Present & Document: 5 Commands of Design
Okay, okay…I know this sounds boring and tedious. And it is. But it is no less important to your development as a design professional than quality aesthetics. After all, think about it. Your design is in your mind. How are you going to convey that design to your clients? Maybe you’ll stand there and present it to them in words and have a few samples on hand to show them what you are seeing and let them feel how wonderful the fabrics are or how beautiful the stones are. Well, that in itself is presentation; it’s just not documentation. And, it’s probably not the most professional means of presentation.
We work in a visual profession and are telling our clients to entrust us with the design of their homes and offices. What better way to instil in them the confidence that we are superior in our aesthetic approach than through the professional and aesthetically appropriate presentation of information. Every communication and correspondence you have with your client, as well as with other project team members, should represent you and the value you put on yourself as a professional.
All this talk about presentation and the questions comes up of “What are we presenting?”
The main object of the presentation will initially be the design concept. Again, a designer’s mind works in images and 3D; not everyone has that talent. Once you can see in your mind what the perfect design for the space will be you have to convey those images to the clients. That is a presentation that can include drawings and sample of materials or whatever it takes to share your vision with those for whom it was designed. After the concept is decided and the work begins there are literally thousands of pieces of information that must be documented over the course of the project. This information is vital for the smooth flow of the project and accurate communication between team members. This includes not only the specification of materials and drawings of where and how those materials will be implemented but also includes items such as meeting minutes where important decisions were made.
IMI Design has developed its proprietary E-BinderTM platform to facilitate this documentation and presentation of information. It is a means by which all of this information is tracked and available to the team at any time and anywhere. Some design projects will last for years and with a majority of decisions being made at the outset and implemented over months with numerous links in the chain from designer to materials vendor there is a lot of room for error. Accurate documentation of information and the clear and concise presentation of that information may not be an exciting part of being a designer but it is certainly a necessary commandment for the design professional.