Post 637 –by Gautam Shah

This is a random selection of BLOGS on Design Practice (Professional Practice) from several of my blogs on the subject.


Flickr Image by Denis Jacquerye


  • CLIENT and DESIGN PROFESSIONAL -Relationship >>






  • Differentiating COST from VALUE -Interior Design Practice >>




  • INTERIOR DESIGNER – the role



  • MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – III

  • MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – IV

  • MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – II

  • MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – I








Pexels Image by Kaboompics // Karolina >

A set of articles on DESIGN IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSES that were offered as PG Level course are also available at >


01 Organizations

02 Essentials of Design Organizations

03 Design Organizations

04 Projects of Design

05 Job or Assignment Handling in Design Organizations

06 Deliverables from Design Organizations

07 Dealing with a Client in a Design Organization

08 Specifications

09 History of Specifications

10 Standards

11 Liabilities

12 Bureau of Indian Standards BIS

13 International Standards Organization ISO

14 ISO 9000 and other Management Standards

15 Quality for Designers

16 Quality Conscience

17 Consumerism

18 Human Resources

19 Leadership in Design Organizations

20 Data, Information and Knowledge

21 Design Processes 21-1 to 21-4

22 Decision Making and Problem Solving

23 Systems Thinking

24 Risk Management

25 Guarantees and Warranties

26 Finance



Post 413 –by Gautam Shah



Interior designers deal with many types of clients, some knowledgeable, curious, domineering, modest and ignorant ones. But, two distinct classes of clients profoundly affect the design process. One, where the clients are corporate or organizational entities, with factual but detached interest in design, and Two, ‘personal-clients’ who are inquisitive, participatory and subjectively involved.



For a designer continuous interaction with a client is important for a satisfying design process, delivery of a final product, and continued relationship. A professional designer needs to be aware of all the above three objectives. A satisfying design process helps in most appropriate product delivery. And an appropriate product backed by persistent concern creates a long-lasting relationship bringing in new projects and clients.

For a design professional stakes are very high in seeing that clients derive satisfaction during both the design and execution phase of the project. In case of Interior design, the design and execution phase converge, so it becomes all the more necessary to keep in touch with the clients.

During the design phase, corporate clients are satisfied by a stated programme and perhaps a discussion on it. The need to keep in touch during the execution phase is often perfunctory. Involvement of a corporate or organized client during the execution period may become necessary, when design-documents are inadequate in detail or when changed circumstances force a rethink.

During the design phase ‘personal or individual clients’ (like a family) if involved and curious would have many dreams about what product they need. These dreams consist of diverse unrelated stacks of images, collected from other impressionistic situations like media, magazines or actual examples. For designer the problem occurs in perceiving a holistic image out of it, or in offering and convincing the client about a novel offering that is far more exciting.


Clients in spite of being extraordinarily inquisitive cannot construct an executable image out of it, or can understand the formal language of drawings or graphical representations. During discussions they grab familiar words or terms and hang on to it. So designers have to be very careful how and what they express. For example, between ‘a red floor’ and ‘bright coloured floor finish’, the commitments are very different. Individual clients are very fast learners, and designers must expect them to be a super designer, by the time execution starts. With the fast learning their capacity to suggest changes enlarges many-fold, but designers should take this enhanced ability as the readiness to dabble in complex issues of design.

Interior designers must ‘engage’ their clients by adequately answering the quarries, offering convincing explanations, and by providing economic and technical comparisons among various options.

Interior Designers need to continue to satisfy their clients even after completion of a project. This helps clients come back to the original designer for the next Interior Design Job. A visit to the designed house, shop or office keeps the relationship with the client alive.

In interior design, the next job usually arrives within Five years, unlike in Architecture, where it may not happen in the current generation, i.e. not before 20/25 years.





Post 351 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 


Interior Design as a profession is changing at a very fast pace. There was a time when a designer had to specify raw materials and the process of assembly or manufacturing to generate a product or a functional system. To check the suitability of the delivered product, and operative validity of the system, a series of tests and check parameters are also required. Very often these parameters remain worthless, because neither, the required level of manpower and testing equipments are available at a site, nor is it feasible to take the product or system from site to such locations. Design needs are now documented in terms of ‘performance specifications’ or optimum operative functionality to be attained by the vendor or contractor, with their choice technological input (materials or manufacturing). This type of modern design documentation requires high level of skill input, technological knowledge-ability and professionalism. Amateur or untrained (hobbyists) interior designers do not have such proficiencies.

Chinese Details

Iron work details

Iron work details

Today many different forms of interior design practices exist, ranging from

Pure design (only),

Design + Supply,

Design + Supply + Execute (install-fabricate-operate).

In very large, complex and remotely located projects, however, it is not feasible, for the designer or their representative to be present on site and conduct projects. Interior Designers, as a result, are gradually limiting their work to design matters only, and let other agencies handle the supply and execution. The practice of employing or appointing ‘third party venders or contractors’ serves varying degree of efficiency, reliability and satisfaction, for corporate or government types of organized clients.


Interior Design Drawing

The separation of design and execution, is also favourable arrangement from point of view of Taxation. Pure Design practice is liable for simple taxation like Service Tax. In Design + Supply practice, a designer may be liable to pay other taxes (sales Tax, etc.). Design + Build practice, is though an accepted norm in many countries of the world. Typically Building Organizers/ Estate Developers, do both.

McElroy Octagon House on Gough St. San Francisco, California 1861

Interior Design like any other Design profession, is a dependent profession. Interior designers work in conjunction with other design professionals, needing interior design inputs in their projects, such as Architects, Building engineers, Landscape designers, Furniture and Product designers, Exhibition and Event managers.

Interior designers also use expertise of other professionals for their work. These include environmental engineers, ecologists, furnishing experts, textile designers, painters, sculptors, and an array of crafts persons.

Some degree of specialization is becoming apparent in Interior Design. Some of the major fields to have distinct identities within the ambit of Interior Design are: Hospitality or hotel design, Entertainment facilities, public space design (air ports, railway stations), Exterior design or Street architecture, Exhibitions and events planning, Retail designing, Transport interior design. These fields naturally demand a varied manner of design approach and handling.

Dome of Rock Jerusalem


Differentiating COST from VALUE -Interior Design Practice


Interior Design practice involves dealing with works of art, artefacts, craft pieces, and many other precious things. It not only involves identifying objects, judging their true worth, for acquiring, and sometimes even disposing off such articles.

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At another level interior designers also help create entities of such merit. The benefits accruing to the client could be several times more than the real cost of creation or acquisition. It is very important for a design professional to be able to differentiate between the cost and value.

Routine jobs have a determinable cost (and by adding a customary margin of profit, etc. one can derive the price). However, jobs with substantial intellectual effort accomplish more than the cost of implementation. So, dilemmas occur, should one charge a professional fee on the total cost of the job, or value accruing out of the job? Authors of creative efforts must know how to value their accomplishments, and thereby demand a fair compensation for it. Designers need to know both the cost and value of their professional services.


The understanding of Cost versus Value of an entity helps a designer at TWO distinct levels:

1 Determination of Fees

2 Helping a client for the value-assessment of their possessions.


1a.       Determination of Cost-based Fees

Interior Design practice follows age-old traditions of Architectural practice. Jobs are generally executed by appointed contractors or selected vendors. These third party (away from the Architect and the Client) entities present an invoice, which reflects the nearly true cost of the job. Architects base their fees on this foundation after adding certain percentage amount to account for miscellaneous expenses, (such as on power, water, etc.). Substantial part of Interior Designer’s work follows a similar path.


1b.       Determination of Value-based Fees

Jobs like renovation, extension, addition, conservation, etc. make substantial change to the existing environment, upgrading the commercial value, or advantages deriving out of it. A unique concept that costs very little to implement, provides a substantial benefit to the client. Should one charge a fee on the cost of a job or on the value of the completed job? Here determining an appropriate cost base for fees is very difficult.


2.         Value assessment of possessions

In design field valuation is made for all types of properties to assess their wealth. Designers help their clients acquire or dispose off entities. Value is specific, there cannot be a general fall or rise in value of all the things. Value of a thing goes up, when we can acquire or aspire for more or superior things in exchange, and goes down, when we can acquire or hope for less or inferior things in exchange. Value is relative, referred in terms of something else.

Value of a thing, cannot be always measured in money. Value has many different connotations, and it has relevance in terms of, emotions, remembrances, associations, ageing, maturity. heritage, rarity, ecological, environmental, social, etc.