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Tranquil Reflections: Decoding the Collaborative Process

Tilisha Harrington and Deri Washington

Last Wednesday's Design Decoded was quite an interesting one. My Assistant Designer, Tilisha Harrington and I gave a breakdown of the collaborative process behind interior design. The discussion started with addressing the consumer notion that designers are omniscient and know all the tricks of the trade. This then imposes a lackadaisical approach from clients during the design process, encouraging a more than standoffish attitude. The idea is that because designers are credible sources, as a client, I am able to be completely hands off and I will somehow end up with a complete masterpiece (without sharing key information). This type of client is not ideal for any designer. When designing for clients there are a great deal of considerations that shape the outcome the design. For instance, without client participation, a designer may take creative lead, but fail to provide the functional properties necessary for that particular client. If you do not inform your designer of your needs, wants, likes, and dislikes; you may end up unsatisfied with the scope of work produced. Consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions and provide clarity on your vision for the space. Communication and documentation are tools used by design professionals far and wide to ensure that all parties involved in the creative process (design team, clients, subcontractors, sales representatives, etc.) have an understanding of the scope of work, responsibilities of their roles, budgets and deadlines. This eliminates confusion and frustration so that customer care and the design are the immediate priorities. Some major takeaways from this discussion are:

1. Be present: An absent client is an unsatisfied one, so pay attention and ask questions.

2. Be vocal: Communication is key! If there are any likes or dislikes you have regarding your design, don't hesitate to inform your designer. Their number one goal is to produce a space that reflects you, his or her feelings will not be hurt by your honesty.

3. Be trusting: Your designer should be someone that you have researched and find credible. Once you have made a decision to move forward into the design process, give them the opportunity to show you their credibility. Trust their expertise and allow them to assist you as best as they can. The design process is meant to be one of collaboration, not dictation.

If you want to know more about the industry, tune in to our Facebook Live this upcoming Wednesday at 12pm to join the discussion.

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