Pro to Pro 14 Stories

For architects and designers, setting out on your own can be a daunting prospect. However, the route to opening an architecture or design practice is more accessible than ever. It takes surprisingly few resources to do it yourself, and maintaining a lean profile from the outset means the freedom to focus...
Design Practice: The Basics of Marketing Your Business
Marketing your design practice will require substantial attention and sustained effort. It builds on the steps outlined in a previous ideabook: define...
Design Practice: Getting Paid
Your interview went well, your prospect has moved from a qualified lead to a new client, ready to hire you to do the job. The designer in you is ready to design, but you need to establish a framework for your business relationship. And that means a contract...
Design Practice: How to Ensure the Best Client Experience
It’s always good to have a plan and a strategy no matter what area of your business — or your client’s project — you’re focusing on. That’s why the same processes you put in place for your marketing...
Design Practice: Setting Up Your Studio
If you’ve been following the steps in my previous ideabooks on starting your practice, you’ve navigated some difficult waters. Hopefully...
Design Practice: How to Pick the Right Drawing Software
Parallel rules, circle templates, vellum, drafting dots, erasing shields … you may still have some of these implements on your desk for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, or your projects may begin there, but it’s probably been a long time since you’ve...
Design Practice: Start-up Costs for Architects and Designers
Too often we let simple obstacles become excuses that stop our progress. In my experience, I’ve found that the biggest perceived barrier to progress is cost. I say perceived because I’ve often found that many people think starting their own...
Pro to Pro: Learn Your Client’s Thinking Style
When you’re an interior designer or decorator, it’s not enough to know your client’s tastes. You also have to understand how he or she thinks. Does this individual think from “the part to the whole” or from “the whole to the part”?...
Design Practice: 11 Ways Architects Can Overcome Creative Blocks
Architects and designers are under constant pressure to summon creative forces into action on a moment’s notice. We visit our clients’ homes or their building sites and are expected to produce the imaginative vision for transforming them into masterworks...
8 Things Successful Architects and Designers Do
Every architect’s design process is extremely personal and nuanced. For example, I have certain tools that I reach for ritually when I start a new project. One is a favorite lead pencil with a lightweight, medium-size barrel and a thinly ridged grip,...
The Future of Smart Design: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
I’m always shocked at the amount of waste I see when visiting a typical project under construction. We all tend to accept that construction is a messy process, but stop to think for a moment about the message that a cluttered and wasteful jobsite sends...
Contracting Practice: Marketing Your Business
You have the talent, the staff and the business processes in place to build great projects. So where are all the clients? Done well, marketing can keep customers walking through the door despite the ups and downs of the economy. The keys are to keep...
Design Practice: Why Saying No Can Be Good for Business
Many architects and designers finally feel busy again. As the list of potential projects grows, your task as a business owner changes, yet again, from business development to curation, in which you filter the list of clients looking to collaborate with...
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