Clients often spend a lot of time assessing the qualities of the design consultant they want working on their project, but assessing what type of Client they want to be on their project is as equally important.
There is no denying that the relationship between client and designer is critical to the success of your project but remembering that each have an equally important role to play in the process. As Design Consultants, our role is to serve our clients by solving their problems in creative and innovative ways, that allow our Clients to be successful at their job and shine in the eyes of those they are responsible to.
Most Clients with commercial projects understand their corporate roles and responsibilities well, but it is the little, less tangible traits that a Client holds that we have found to make the difference between a good Client and a Great Client, one that draws us wanting to work with them again and again, regardless of the project.
Here are our top 5 qualities we love about our Clients.
1. They understand the true value of Landscape Architecture
Our Clients understand that the practice of Landscape Architecture is beyond trees and plants. They understand the practice of Landscape Architecture is holistic, that Landscape Architects add value at every stage in the design process from early master planning through to the selection of materials and finishes that set the character and identity of your project to getting it built as intended on the ground. Our Clients engage us early in the design process and ask us to collaborate with other specialist consultants to define the project vision, develop the master plan, review engineering, and environmental solutions and much more, to ensure all requirements are considered and truly integrated into the design.
2. They are clear on the purpose of the project and the outcomes
As designers, it is our role to deliver design solutions that consider and integrate all opportunities and constraints, but great Clients understand the true purpose of delivering their project. For example, the purpose of developing a new residential subdivision may be to provide a strong living community where people feel safe, socially connected, with a sense of belonging and proud of where they live; and where the developer can be proud of their legacy and build a reputation for great community outcomes and customer satisfaction. Regardless of the project, the purpose is rarely about money or profit, yes returning a profit on investment is important for a project to be successful, but great Clients rarely let money drive the purpose for delivering their project. Great Clients are clear on their purpose and let this drive their decision making. Great Clients are able to make decisions because they are driven by a clear purpose.
3. They understand and respect the design process
Because every project has its own unique set of characteristics and every client has their own set of priorities, there are many factors to be considered when designing our built environments. Therefore, the design process will always differ from project to project. However, the fundamental framework for delivering a successful project is essentially the same. Great Clients make the effort to understand the design process and recognise that good design takes time to develop. The best design outcomes are those that are tested and challenged. Great Clients will constructively question their designer on why they have made a decision, and to ask them to explain how it contributes to achieving the project vision. Good design needs to be examined and scrutinised against the project vision and the project brief. If your designer does not accept being challenged, it may be time to change your designer. Design is a journey and Great Clients are prepared to actively participate in the journey.
4. They are willing to listen, take advice and allow “thinking beyond the obvious”
While many of our Clients have a good understanding of what we do and what we have to offer as Landscape Architects, great Clients are willing to listen to the advice of their designer, even if it means “breaking the rules”. Great Clients allow their designer to test all previous ways of thinking, they understand that, just because things have been done a particular way in the past does not mean it is the only or best way to do things. Great Clients understand why they engage Design Consultants.
5. They are loyal and invest in long-term relationships
Many of our long term Clients understand the strength of a long term business relationship between Client and Designer. Great Clients understand that a good loyal designer is an important adviser on their team, but they also understand that loyalty flows two ways. Good designers will always service their loyal clients as a priority, and will always go out of their way to deliver them the best outcomes. Great Clients recognise this, and will always invest in their design team. Great Clients understand that the value of a design service can always be fairly negotiated and should never be driven purely by fee (after all a good designer should always create substantially more value on your project than the cost of their fees – check out our post on “Good Design isn’t Cheap and Cheap Design isn’t Good”). Loyal relationships between Designers and Clients take time to nurture and is built on personal trust and respect that comes from working together over an extended period of time with the same people.
We do not say it anywhere near enough, but from all of us at Vee Design would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our Great Clients, the individuals that have trusted in us, believe in our ability to deliver on their projects and have faith to keep coming back to us to assist them to deliver great outcomes on their projects.