Gorgeous spaces that people experience and gawk at were always out of reach for me. They were these magical places that I only heard of but never experienced firsthand. This came as no surprise to me considering where I grew up and the people who surrounded me at the time were not into design or the arts. That's what I thought I'd be creating day in and day out when I finally decided to make the leap into interior design and architecture but there are so many things that may happen behind the scenes which are out of the control of the designer and you just have to roll with it. So many things that are so shocking, it's a surprise no one seemed to mention them.
To an extent, yes, I will be creating gorgeous spaces that people experience and gawk at but it's not all glitz and glamour as I thought. As I speak with more and more people and hear them wish they also knew a few of these things before starting their design journey, I decided it is time to comprise a list to help those who may be considering getting into the field a glimpse of what it's really like to be an interior designer and an architect. Here are the top 5 most shocking design facts I've learned over time. Enjoy!
1. It's Not a Matter of if the Design Will Change but When
This was a tough one, personally. I went into design and architecture thinking that what I designed will be finished exactly how it was drafted. Nope! So far from the case. People, the design will change. The owners of the space are human and will change their minds or have an addition or the contractor will make a mistake. Be prepared to find solutions and keep an open mind to alter the design you created.
2. Safety Over Aesthetics
Your number one goal as a designer and/or architect is to care and be responsible for the safety of others. This may mean the sexy Instagram corner you designed may need to be ditched for a fire exit or may need to comply with ADA regulations OR whatever other safety measure needs to be taken. Safety over beauty. It's not sexy but it will prevent you from being sued. That's sexy.
3. Mercy of Clients & Their Budgets
Hate to say it but you're not the boss. Clients will sometimes have items they don't wish to part with and demand them in the design. It's your job (mine too) to figure out a solution. Who are we to say someone can't have their table? Regardless if we like the item or not, our job is to create a space the client loves. Not to mention, the design may be restricted by the budget as well so not all of the work created will be picture perfect.
4. Coding and Language; Lack Equals Limitations
Different areas of the world have different ways of doing things. This means they have different litigation and different building codes state to state. Being knowledgeable in the codes of the state you're in is paramount. Furthermore, having an extensive vocabulary and library will make you the best designer you can be. Having a lack of vocabulary means to have a lack of solutions to issues as they arise which means the design will be limited in various amounts of ways.
5. Your Handwriting Will Change!!
Last but not least, be ready for your handwriting to change. Designers and architects write in a universal way. Sure, there will be a uniqueness to everyone's writing but the size will look similar. The height of the letters is 1/4 of an inch and the spacing between lines is to be 1/8 of an inch. Oh, and ALL CAPS because why not yell. This one caught me off-guard the most. The first time I encountered an architect was at my old job in the medical field. I had always wondered why his penmanship looked so spectacular and uniform. Now, it all makes sense.
These were all of the things I wish I had known beforehand that I learned after it was too late (ha!). Hopefully, these 5 shocking design facts help you understand what's to come in the journey of an interior design and architecture student or becoming an interior designer and/or architect. Salud!
Are you an interior design or architecture student? Are you a design professional? Have something to add? Let's connect!