The dreaded day came; the one that we all know is coming. We just don't know when. It is the crash of one’s hard drive. And despite best intentions and multiple backups, it still disrupts life and work.
But after surviving those stressful days, one unexpected benefit was to review pictures of past design projects, as they were loaded back onto the hard drive, sometimes picture by picture one at a time. When one kitchen project popped up, I clearly recalled a conversation I had that client at the beginning of their project.
They asked, “If you were to get the job, how do you see your role in our project?”
• Love those kinds of questions.
The answers were actually easy because they represent who we are at the core of our work and how we approach each job. In fact, I would say that many designers work exactly like this. Just three things.
1. First, the work of a professional designer is to educate the client. My job is to be a teacher. A client needs to have the concepts, options and costs to make certain important and critical decisions. And assisting the client in making decisions is one of the benefits of working with a design professional.
2. The next is to be a great design planner. Successful design happens more with determined intent than by the flow of creative juices. Flowing creativity is only good up to a point before skill must take over. Good planning shapes space, creates concepts and establishes direction, work that happens long before the selection of furnishings, fixtures and finishes.
3. Finally, the last is to just make it happen. Some call it being a project manager. Just because one has the skill set to design doesn’t mean that those same skills will manage the multiple implementation of workers and product. But with a strategic approach, the experienced manager moves the work from drawing board or computer screen to reality in an organized manner.
That’s the role of a designer in any project. Some clients just need the first part. Others need more of their designer. Some projects require much more planning in order to achieve the client’s vision.
So while the role of the designer may vary with client and project, the core elements remain.
• Teach. • Plan. • Manage. That's what any good designer does.
~ Michael A. Thomas, FASID
Teacher. Planner. Manager.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.