How a designer should best approach a client or company
My aims for this module are to research into how a designer should best approach a client or company with regards to designing and making a product for them. Throughout my research I will consider a number of crucial factors associated with visiting a client or company to design an item of furniture for them. I will also considering the various stages from the initial contact with the client through to the finalised design, and presenting the client with the completed product.
The major themes I will consider are how best to understand what product the client/clients really want to fulfil their requirements. To carryout an accurate and detailed investigation of this I will interview a number of designers/makers who do this for a living and ask them a range of important questions. See page . I will evaluate the information I receive and analyse the best method to use when approaching the client right through to the final idea. I will also question and research major topics like adding up the cost of a product, and how to make up an accurate timescale.
I am researching into this topic because as a aspiring furniture designer I would perhaps like a job working as a designer or working for myself so I would like to understand how best to approach the client. I consider this to be the most important and critical area, I think that the client customer relationship is extremely important and understanding how to maintain this is crucial. I also find it very intriguing and interesting to be able to sell your design or product successfully to a client or company, and how to best do this
I will look at various angles of approach to a client and look at the different circumstances I may be presented with; I will also explore a range of opinions and make an even handed assessment of them.
To under take and achieve my aims I will interview a range of designers/makers who work in this field and ask them a range of questions with regards to interviewing a client or company, about designing and making a product for them, the questionnaire will include a range of aspects like designing, presenting, advertising. It will also include delivery of final product and payment.
I will research into a number of books to investigate interview techniques and consider how best to start up a small business as a furniture designer/maker.
Advertising is also a key area so researching into books and videos will help understand how to promote your work.
The main case studies will be comparing the various information between all the designers I have interviewed and evaluating what the best approach is.
I will also look at the various ways of presenting the client with the proposed idea
How to best price and timescale a project.
Chapter 1 initial contact with client
After interviewing a number of designers/makers and also sole designers I have gathered a wide range of information and genuine facts of the best methods to use when discussing with clients about making an item of furniture for them. This information is very beneficial and also interesting because it has given me a great deal of insight of how to best talk and conduct the actual design process with what item the client really needs and requires right through to final delivery of the item and also possible follow up contacts with the client with regards to leaflets flyers ect.
What I found most interesting and what was the strength of the research was that every designer I interviewed had their own idea and insight about what they do in certain circumstances, although these were in some cases completely different to what others said they had good reasons to justify the methods they used, this gave great scope to evaluate the findings.
The questionnaire I created see page was to gather as much information and to draw out of the designers their personal experiences and feelings about every stage from first contact with the client right through to completion and delivery of the product. I wanted to cover as many angles as possible to build up a clear picture of what were the best attitudes and approaches to take in certain circumstances whilst interviewing the client and also look at what the worst things to do whilst interviewing the client. ( The abc of interviewing by Martin Higham).
This research builds up a picture of what the best methods to use and also the worst methods to use. This information of course can only help me to evaluated and decide the best method to use myself, bearing in mind that everyone is different and each person has there own method that works for them this may not work for everyone, also by evaluating the facts I had collected from interviewing the various designers and employing these tactics to practise is by no means a guide to success but it does give me a range of views to considerer and make up my own mind.
I began the interviews by assuming that the designer had never met the client before. I thought this would be the most beneficial scenario and probably the most difficult for both parties involved, both for the designer and the client. ( Interviewing by Glynis M. Breakwell) I felt if I had have based my questionnaire on both client and designer having had previous encounters then this would probably complete things and perhaps not as much detail or knowledge would have been gathered from the questionnaire.
Most of the designers first contact between there new client was by means of a telephone call, this gives the first impression and thought process of what you think or assume of the client and also what there first impression are of you. As this is still very early and I thought perhaps irrelevant it is very important to be polite but also business like. It is important to talk clearly and precisely and to give the impression you are a professional and an organised business.
The conversation at this stage it is to cover mainly the brief and basic points about the client e.g name, address, what they are looking made ect. A question the designers highlighted was to ask how that the client had heard of you. If someone else has recommended you then this is very encouraging because they know the quality of work you have done in the past and what standard you are capable of, this will be a extremely beneficial for you to know this information because it proves that your work is being advertised which is increasing demand for you work, this also gives the client reassurance at this stage that you will carryout a successful and quality item based on your previous workmanship.
The majority of designers preferred to travel to the client as proposed to the client travelling to meet the designer as this gives the designer a unique and beneficial insight into the person’s lifestyle and environment in which they live. It also gives you a indication of where the product will be situated and what are the design features of that room are. As a successful designer you should be able to understand the correct design taste to suit the client that you are designing for, this information is based on there age, interests, lifestyle, wealth ect. It is also very important to make contact to visit the clients premises well within a week of the first telephone contact because this shows you are professional and well organised.
The designers were somewhat divided on whether to travel a substantial distance to design and make a relativity small low cost product for example a coffee table, the majority of designers/makers said it was not at all feasible to travel for example fifty
Miles to design and make a product with a value of Two hundred pounds. A number of designers/makers said they have no problem with this that they would just point out that they would charge for the time spent travelling. This was another question that depended on the circumstances of both the designer and the client. If the designer had not much work on current demand then they would have no hesitation in accepting the job, whereas it they had a lot of well paid work on they would tend to pass it by and forget about so called ‘small beer’ If the client was impressed by work you had made for someone else or were recommended by someone else then they may be quite happy to pay for the product, my personal view would be accept the job no matter what the circumstances were because you never know where this could lead to and they may be impressed and give you a order for a larger more profitable product so I think it is important to create as wide a customer base as possible especially starting out as a newcomer in business.