Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steps seven & eight in your design adventure

Step Seven:  Be honest with yourself, your partner and your designer.  Hopefully steps one thru six were done with honesty and integrity, so step seven is double check time.  This step takes it one notch farther and includes your designer.  Be honest with your designer by speaking up if you do not like the design sketches, are not happy with the progress or process or you are even unhappy with the designer personally-say so.  Don't waste time being accommodating, if you are unhappy with anything, you need to talk about it or it will not go away.  Most designers welcome honest feedback, just remember, you can be honest and kind at the same time.

At some point in your interactions with your designer, you should have developed a sense that you have connected, so that you feel as though you are on the same page, have the same goals in mind and can honestly express yourself and be heard.  You should feel open enough to be able to say when you don't like something, keeping in mind that you should also be able to say why you don't like it.  Some times I get clients who will gladly tell me they don't like a sketch, but they can never tell me why.  This is not a good working relationship.  If I can not pick up on your discomfort and understand why the sketch bothers you, then I am not on the same page as you.  If you can not express yourself beyond "I don't like it", then I probably won't be able to design something you do like, unless I can identify your discomfort.  Sometimes it is just a little thing like symmetry and sometimes it's a biggie, like you don't trust or like me.  The earlier we can identify the bad Karma, the earlier we can overcome it.  In some cases it is something that can't be overcome and you should end the relationship and try to express yourself with someone else.  If everyone is excited about the project and everyone is headed in the same direction, then you have a good chance for a successful outcome.  If there are hidden agendas, oversized egos or any other mucky feelings going on, then it is usually best to find someone you can better relate to.

Step Eight:  Be patient with the process.  Designs need time to evolve and the first sketches are not always the best.  Each rendition should be better than the last.  If things become stalled, step back, re-group and have a brainstorming session with your designer.  Sometimes it only takes one idea from "outside the box" to bring a project back to life.

Sometimes clients will feel guilty if they change their minds and others will be so indecisive that they change their minds before the last changes were even drawn.  Somewhere in the middle is where you  should try to be.  Changes are how the plan evolves.  Make the changes you need to make,to feel right with the plan.  If you can identify specific areas that need help, focus on that area but be aware of how it works with adjacent areas.  If you find yourself becoming indecisive, then it's time to stop and take a deep breath.  Sometimes taking a break from the plan helps too.  Set it aside for a few days and do something else that is less intense.  Take a weekend out of town and redirect your energy into something totally unrelated to your new home project.  Often times when you come back to it, you will have new energy and decisions won't seem so overwhelming.  Even if you are under a tight timeline, a few days away from the project will be more productive than waffling back and forth without meaningful progress.

Next post will be the final two steps.

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