Design Products

Design Products

Design is not the only design product we have and yet its commonly perceived as the main body of our work. There are many design products and services that we provide and yet design is really only a small part of the products we supply. Listed below are many common tasks that designers provide. The point of this article is why you need to differentiate what design products and services you specialize in.

Design Products 1 – Design

This includes rationalizing a clients ideas and developing then into practical schemes. Understanding and adapting and using particular materials and products for the construction of the design. You also advise on such and why a particular product is better than others. Construction time, cost estimation and planning obligations are examined and developed from these ideas that are on the sketch plan.

these design services include:

  • space planning
  • aesthetics
  • finishes
  • texture and color
  • components such as furniture and joinery
  • lighting
  • electrical and plumbing services
  • types of construction systems
  • health and safety
  • ergonomics and anthropometric

Design Products 2 – Documentation

design products - documentation design drawing

Drawing the project into a developed set of working drawings allowing the building work to obtain the necessary consents, allowing accurate pricing to be obtained, facilitating a contractor to be able to build the design to the clients requirements. The ability to form a contract is based on your documentation and the scope of work described within those documents.

these design services include:

  • sketch plans
  • perspectives
  • developed sketch plans
  • working drawings
  • finishes schedules
  • door and window schedules
  • furniture schedules
  • component schedules
  • specifications

Design Products 3 – Obtainment of Consents

marketing, small business, contracts, interiordesign promotion

This is a particular service that the designer should market well and yet its an integral part of the profession. Without these the project cannot go ahead legally so it becomes an absolute requirement that you have specialist skill in developing. Within this genre you have to confirm that not only does the layout and building work comply but also the planning consents.

these design services include:

  • planning local body and greater government bylaws and laws
  • fire and egress reports and compliance documentation
  • resource consents (if required in your country)
  • heritage and barrier free compliance
  • building consent
  • code of compliance (or similar compliance documents from the governing authority for building)
Design Products 4 – Bidding or Tendering

With your design set up in the correct documentation system including drawings, schedules, specification and conditions of contract, you have the ability to give those documents to  selected contractors and from there call for prices on an equal and fair basis. This in itself is a highly skilled and a very valuable service for a client. It helps take the worry out of the pricing process and ensuring that nothing is forgotten or not included in the project. (Assuming  that the documentation is correct in itself which of course as a professional designer this is one of your primary skills).

these design services include:

  • the compilation of the required documentation(as above) into a formal set of documents
  • selecting  and qualifying those that you and your client wish or are required to obtain bids from (some government works will require open tender or bid)
  • setting up and creating the tender or bidding conditions of contract, timing and method of presentation
  • collating interpreting and clarifying the bids for presentation to your client  (this will depend on your skill, the size and complexity of the project. In large projects this is often delegated to another specialist consultant working along side you such as a quantity surveyor or well qualified project manager.)
 Design Products 5 – Contracts and  Project Management

project management, management, business, time

For the layman this can be a minefield but as a professional designer its a highly skilled part of your business and should be marketed as such. When you draw a set of design documents and those are used to price the project this can be used to form a contract (see types of contract). In fact its sensible to do so as this is what the scope of work and price relates to. The documentation allows you as a project manager (having established the contract on your documentation) to monitor the work and items that have been included in the drawings, schedule, specification and consents. (Noting that you have the qualifications skills and insurances in place). This is a skill set that should also be marketed by the professional designer. It takes a great deal of time and effort to successfully put a project together and as you have developed the design and the documentation then it puts you in the “driving seat” when it comes to selling this as one of your skills.

these design services include:

  • letting of the contract and the associated checks and balances that are required such as finance, insurances and qualified staff
  • monitoring progress on site and reporting to the principal or owner
  • certifying payment for progress claims
  • checking quality and troubleshooting the build as problems arise
Design Products 6 – Procurement

Obtaining the items for the interior that don’t form part of the construction such as soft furnishings, furniture and appliances is one of the designers skills. In some countries (the USA for example) lay persons are not able to buy directly from particular outlets e.g. wholesale and the designer is able to offer particular products at a reduced price. This may be a discount to the retail price or it may be that certain items are only available to the design community. Knowing where to buy these items, how long they take to be manufactured and delivered and also the care and installation of such items are the domain of the designer and as such should  marketed as another skill or service that only you as a designer can provide.

these design services include:

  • sourcing the components of the project such as furnishings and furniture
  • advising on the suitability of these, buying of these items ensuring delivery and placement within the project and ensuring receiving the goods in new condition
  • maintaining an accurate and current database of product, its availability and price
Conclusion

marketing, fishing for business, business

Designers do a great deal more than just design and its up to you as a professional to ensure that your clients and the public who are your potential clients are aware of all the services that you offer. The more that this profession does this the more the public perception of the designers services and professionalism will increase. This can only be good for the interior design profession as a whole and only be good for your individual business. You must differentiate the products you provide and this will differentiate your business from the crowd.

When producing promotional material it is important to distinguish between the different services and skills that you offer. Think of it as having a number of different types of bait  (design products) on the line. Some work and some don’t. It depends on the type of fish (client). Most are edible!

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