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What makes a good designer?

Designers are people with creativity in them, and being organised does not always come naturally to a creative personality. It is, however, a trait that all designers would do well to cultivate, as there is so much more to the business of design than just designing. Being organised is probably the most important facet of a professional att itude, though not the only one. For those who get involved in the full range of tasks associated with the day-to-day operation of a design practice, it could be that they will spend no more than 20 per cent of their time actively pursuing the development of a design. Th e other 80 per cent can easily be taken up by the mundane side of running a business: administration, fi ling, lett er writing, travelling and so on. Allied to good organisation skills is good time management. Because interior design is a subject that it is easy to be passionate about, it is also one where it is easy to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the design work, to the detriment of other tasks that need to be undertaken if a project is to be completed successfully. To help with this, one of the fi rst things to be done on a project is to create a project plan that shows the tasks that need to be addressed in order to successfully complete the project. Probably the most useful way of visualising the project plan is in the form of a Gantt chart; a horizontal bar chart that illustrates a project schedule.

Strictly speaking, a true Gantt chart shows the outcomes of a project, and not the actions that will be undertaken to reach those outcomes, but for most designers this distinction is academic, and can be ignored. Soft ware, including free open-source programs, are available to help produce project plans .Designers should realise that they are not alone when undertaking a project. Other professionals can be brought in as required to add their expertise to the project. Structural engineers, surveyors, quantity surveyors and project managers are examples of such professionals, and they can all help make a project feasible and deliverable to the client. Th e interior designer may still be the prime contact between client and project if they were approached fi rst by the client, with each of the others reporting to the designer.