I have had clients where the style and the ultimate goal or look of the project weren't quite defined before we signed the contract.
Or maybe we all thought we understood the ultimate goal, but really, we weren't quite on the same page about what the client wanted for an end result.
If the potential client hasn't dabbled in design much (and believe me, that can be a very good thing) or if they are prone to change their minds, then sometimes we can waste a lot of time with options or with nailing the desired look for them.
Develop a look book or style book for a client as a base line place to start
One tool I now occasionally use for helping to determine client/designer fit, is spending some time developing a look book or style book for that client.
I do these occasionally, before the contract is signed, because I want to make sure we are all on the same page design style-wise. I want to make sure that we will all love the outcome and that my interpretation of what they are telling me they want is on target.
These are usually done for larger scaled projects, ones where I will need to have some autonomy so that we can get things done. While I run almost everything by my clients, it helps to have their trust so that I can make some of the detailed decisions without running every single thing past them for approval.
If larger scaled projects don't have defined style goals, it can be a real financial disaster for a designer.
If you get into a situation where there are lots of changes in design direction on a job, it's not such a big loss on a small project. However, it's a fiasco on a larger one. Because, well, time is money and reselections and rethinks take time.
I have found that a look book or style book, really helps define my general concept for the spaces and gives them an understanding of the direction we will go. It can also help define the scope of the job and prepare a client for some big ideas. It's actually sort of a "pre-concept concept", if that makes sense.
I can also hint at perhaps a bigger idea or "pill I want them to swallow", like going bigger with their remodel or budget, sharing a bit of how that can make an impact. That let's me know if they are open to some creativity or new ideas and really, how firm they are on their budgets.
Am I giving away some design ideas?
Yes, I'm giving away design ideas and information that someone could just take to another designer to implement. However, if we're not on the same page, it could be a miserable next few months to a year, trying to get focused and yes, I could lose money.
While I charge for my initial get-to-know-you meetings for projects, for large scale projects with lots of furnishings and products I will be selecting and providing, this piece of "design definition" is done as part of the interview/intake before we sign the contract.
I shared this same type of concept when I was submitting a contract for a modern model home to a local builder and shared that in this post. I did that one with a Pinterest board.
These days, I'm all about the downloadable pdf (I love Google Drive) and how a slideshow can really help tell a story just amazes me.
So, I recently created this book for a potential client and wanted to share it with you today (anonymously, of course), just so you can see how these work.
At one time I thought about offering this concept package as a design service all by itself. If you would like a design concept lookbook developed for your project, you can email me right here.
If you are interested in design for a full service project, we are booking projects now for summer/fall start dates. Please see this link for more information about how our full service projects work.
Interior Designers: Want to check out more info about designer/client compatibility? I have this lesson learned on sale this week, in my shop.