Design is design is design - is there more?

Design brings joy to life.  There will always be new ideas and new designs.  If you're old enough you remember when open plan design shook up the business world in the 60's with "cubicles", or perhaps you watched as Post Modern Architecture swept the nation (thankfully briefly), or enjoyed the introduction of Super Graphics of the 60's, or even the day that dot coms lived in de-constructed offices.  Many of us have seen design trends, material trends, and furniture trends come and go and come again.  It's interesting to note that corporations have willingly engaged in many of those trends to improve their business or bottom line based on keeping staff happy and productive, a desire to project a style-forward corporate image, or occasionally because they wanted an image aligned with their corporate values.  

"Design firms that look beyond the clever trends to deliver beautiful impactful architecture that people want to experience become the go to firms that stay around year after year for one reason - problem solving through culture driven design excellence."

The designer's role is to bring a wealth of ideas and experience by presenting solutions to the client that meld together the corporate culture and values, good design sense and even sometimes bit of trendy thrown in for interest.  Good design offers up solutions that fit today but project an eye to the future.  Great design does the same AND engages and inspires the people who intersect with these designs that improves their community.  Design firms that look beyond the clever trends to deliver beautiful impactful architecture that people want to experience become the go to firms that stay around year after year for one reason - problem solving through culture driven design excellence.

"The only thing better than going out and getting clients is inspiring them come to you."

Regardless of design styling and playing the trends, design firms recognize that quality, meaningful design, regardless of the budget is what engages clients and wins projects.  As good as we may be as architects and designers, without clients most of us have very little to do.  And without repeat clients we are lost forever in the hunt for the next deal.  What does all this have to do with anything?  It's about building a sustaining practice.  Creating your vision of your firm with your bullet-proof approach to design takes discipline, purpose AND focus.  

With meaning and direction clearly defined by your practice, a good next step is to invest your time on an inbound marketing to bring the world to your doorstep. The only thing better than going out and getting clients is inspiring them come to you.  A well conceived inbound program informs, educates and excites the reader, bringing them to you to see and learn more about your ideas.  This type program takes more planning and thought than you might imagine as well as one other commodity - time.  It works best over a sustained period of time with consistent delivery - but it is well worth the effort.

Inbound marketing should be one of several items in your marketing toolbox. As you would expect, all your tools should work together . If this could be a solution for your firm, give me a call.  I'd enjoy a discussion of ideas and how best to introduce this idea into a balanced program of marketing and business development.

William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff.  Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years.   Bill writes articles sharing his experience in four keystone practice areas:  Marketing, Design, Project Management and Practice Management.  He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com