Finding a Designer

Koush is featured in this month’s House and Garden as one of the top interior design studios across the country.  A lovely accolade which also got me thinking about what it takes from a client’s point of view to be a top designer.

If you’re in the market to use a designer, then read on….

First to find a designer…

  • Ask around – word of mouth is always a great start as it gives you a chance to “vet” a firm though a trusted friend’s experience.  Remember you’re not trying to find an example of a job that matches yours exactly – A good designer tailors designs to their client. Instead you are looking to find a firm whose work is well designed –   well planned, well built, to the agreed timeframe and budget with a happy client the result
  • Look for work you have seen in real life that you are excited by always a great start for local talent spotting. Try also magazines, design blog’s, Pinterest, Google.  Narrow your search parameters to find firms in your area.

Once you’ve found some designers whose work you like….

  • Go through candidate’s websites and look at past projects/ CV’s….. Do they show evidence of long standing relationships? Interior designers who repeatedly work with several Builders, architects, and joiners show a firm that builds a team. The best jobs are when the building trades and professions and clients all work together to create great work.
  • Do you like their previous work? Can you see it in real life/talk to past clients/read testimonials?
  • Give the designer refereed to you or the firms you found a call and have a chat. They should be friendly and approachable and be happy to discuss your project.

Q and A

  • Most designers offer an initial meeting to discuss a project at no cost, which is important so you can see if you actually LIKE the people you’ll be working with. You might not become best friends but jobs can last weeks, months or even years – you must be able to work together effectively and feel comfortable communicating with them.
  • This meeting also gives everyone a chance to discuss budgets/timelines and fees so you know where stand at all times, and the scope of work can be determined. Notes will be taken to create a written brief and fee proposal – this is the designers understanding and interpretation of your requirements and their fees based on that scope of work.
  • Check the people you meet in the first instance are going to be the actual designers who work on your project.
  • Ask questions!
  • Can they provide all of the services required for your project and if not, which other consultants may need to called in (architect, engineer, etc.)?
  • Whoever you chose should also be excited and passionate about your project – You need a firm that is as involved in your project as you are.
  • Keep asking questions!

Build your team

  • Fee proposals will form part of your selection process, but so will the understanding demonstrated of your job and connection you make with the designer. Once you have selected who you want to work with, the words from your initial meeting will form an initial brief with scope to add and change as you wish. The final document of everyone’s opinions, questions & requests become the basis for your job.

For more info on the actual stages of a job see here

Have you been a client searching for a designer and have any words of advice to share?

Feel free to comment.