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 presenting the finalised design, and delivery of 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. In order to carryout an accurate and detailed investigation of this I will interview ten designers/makers who do this for a living and ask them a range of important questions. 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 crucial area, I think relationship between the client and customer 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 best to 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 ten 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.
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 etc
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 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. 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 evaluate 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. By evaluating the facts I had collected from interviewing the various designers and employing these tactics to practice is by no means a guide to success but it does give me a range of views to consider 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. (Evidence of this can be found in “interviewing” by 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 complicate things and perhaps not as much detail or knowledge would have been gathered from the questionnaire.
Most of the designers first contact between their 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 their first impression are of you.
As this is still very early and I thought perhaps some-what 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 mainly cover the brief and basic points about the client e.g. name, address, what they are looking made etc.
A question the designers highlighted was to ask how that the client had heard of you. If a friend or previous client 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 extremely beneficial for you to know this information because it proves that your work is being advertised by word of mouth, and 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.