Written by Shantel Susan, Art Consultant & Founder Shantel’s Art & Design Inc.
“As designers we learn from everything we look at provided that our vision is clear and perceptive” relates to the hopeful desire and intent for designers to approach all aspects of design with a view to a pure and unbiased position. This however, can be difficult, as with all human beings, no matter how we may be trained to behave otherwise, personal biases and subjective criticism can stand in the way of transparent, unprecedented decisions in any situation or problem at hand.
The meaning of the word “vision” should not only be taken literally in this statement. Rather, it may allude to the designer having a broader picture, a more all-encompassing scope of the design challenge presented. This holds true with any leader, business person, philosopher, inventor, etc. that sees far beyond the limiting scope that is visually before them. It takes this kind of vision to change any cause, movement or progression forward to its maximal fulfillment. The true visionary is not content with merely addressing the basic generalities or realities of the obvious. Their concerned with going well beyond the parameters of what is only facts and initially perceptions. It takes unique sensitivity and awareness to think in this fashion and it must be cultivated over time by the designer for them to become truly insightful.
As designers, it is important to observe every space (at the very least) in terms of its colour, light, scale, proportion and texture and the designer should cultivate a more discerning eye if they continue to develop their skills and sensibilities at every opportunity. With this, it is this inevitability to see, both visually and objectively, all the details and composition of elements and principles that work together to create a well designed space.
The other dimension is to recognize that the designer is not the only participant in the “vision” definition. The client is of utmost importance since designers generally have a client whose wishes and expectations must be taken into account. Alongside of budget, timing, resources and other considerations, the desires (vision) of the client must be discovered, down to the last detail and incorporated into the entire design scheme. The ability of the designer to integrate all of these factors to ultimately create the space required by the client is highly important. There can be no compromises on the attainment of this goal – the client must feel their vision of the project has been fulfilled. Therefore, the designer must manage client expectations, either directly through meeting them or by persuading the client into believing their specific vision needs modification. This requires the designer to have clarity in their perception of the project and all the requirements and demands at hand. How the designer learns is through dealing with clients and all other stakeholders in the design process by keeping an open-minded and comprehensible focus on the end goal. Addressing problems and conquering challenges are at the very centre of developing a competent designer with clear vision.
From a purely practical visionary perspective, the ability of the designer to physically evaluate the structure of a space, its limitations, benefits and areas of probable enhancement while considering how to minimize defects is related to the ability to having clear perception. To take the space from where it is to “visualize” what it will look like when completed. In this process, it is helpful to take into consideration historical references. Part of the training of the designer should include the study of the history of design. The reason is this can be a starting and departure point for generating design ideas and then modifying appropriately to suit the design scheme. In addition, the client may have a particular design period in mind, or may request an assimilation of various design styles for their project. If the designer is not conversant with this history, they would be at a significant disadvantage in trying to execute this vision. On the other side, there are the clients that “think” they know the difference between varying design periods and styles and sometimes it is the job of the designer to sort through what they really want and try to devise a quality design vision for the rather confused client.
This is a process that cannot occur if the designer does not know how to be perceptive and work clearly and concisely with the client.
The designer must go far beyond the basics of physical vision and keep a clear, concise open mindedness to all the spaces and clients they encounter.
© 2017 Shantel’s Art & Design
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