What is E- Design?
Simply put, it’s a design process completely done electronically (online). A method more reserved for the decorating aspect of designing and less focused on the full scope of remodeling that would require demolition from the ground up. But that is changing.
Most designers, including myself, a were taught and trained in a more traditional fashion where the designer is easily accessible and hands on. We like to take our clients to show rooms and various galleries for inspiration and use that time to establish a strong working relationship. The relationships built over time with our vendors and suppliers is also very hands on. Taking tours of inside trade-exclusive showrooms to look over new merchandise and materials are so important. Like so many, this industry is built on strong relationships. So how on Earth could e-design be an option?
Simple, because in this very moment, we have to.
From the perspective of the designer I see this as a welcomed challenge. I run my business heavily with technology. From the multiple drawing and modelling software I use to put an entire project together to maddening amount of emails and phone calls I make daily it would seem that doing all of this electronically would be a breeze, right? Not quite but very, very possible.
Unlike an episode of one of the many design shows aired tv, the bulk of what we do is not shown. That single hour of television that you see is easily, at best, 6 to months of work and that’s if everything goes as planned. The crucial part of research and planning then developing a project is completely left out. I’ll admit, I have a love/hate relationship with networks like this. LOVE for the creativity and designs by the various designers, artists, and craftsman who are all very talented and would argue they are absolutely excellent for television. HATE for the over-the-top and unrealistic expectations it does to the industry as a whole. Not every project runs smoothly and more often than not they are never on time. Delays. missteps, accidents, and mistakes can and do happen. We never want anything to go wrong and work tirelessly to make sure nothing does but it comes with the territory.
That said I like be accessible to my clients and I make sure to visit projects to check on the progress and to make sure everything is moving in the direction that I set in motion.
The main missing link, for me anyways, is the physicality of it all. Physically being present and accessible. And while currently there is not a lot of wiggle room around this fact, I take comfort in knowing that it is 100% adaptable.
My methods around designing a space have not changed but my communication methods certainly have. While email and phone calls remain standard forms of communication, zoom and FaceTime have replaced meetings and walk-throughs almost entirely. Now I prefer to use zoom or FaceTime exclusively just for the visibility factor. It feels more personal than email and phone calls; I feel it helps establish and build the working relationship.
The term E-Design may sound a bit foreign or cheapen the process but that’s just not the case. The same level of dedication, love, and passion for what myself, and so many other designers have remained the same. We are constantly educating ourselves and adapting to the ever-evolving industry of Interior Design and this is no different.
It may be the nature of the beast at the moment but I refuse to let it slow me, my fellow designers, and the industry we love down. Not even for a second.
E-Design is the term used for the type of communication between designer and client. It certainly does not mean the quality is any less than that of a traditional approach. Different, yes but not wrong.