Design Horror Stories: Unprofessional Attitude – 1

Unprofessional Attitude is what I find most annoying. I believe strong work ethics is as important as skills and experience. 

I believe in looking the part when I am on duty. People do judge others by their appearance. I have a strong opinion about designers dressing too casually with tank tops and flip flops. It’s difficult for me to take them seriously. If we happen to be at a jobsite, I am concerned about their safety.

Once I was meeting a designer at home on a weekday morning. To my surprise, when I arrived, she was in her comfortable home clothes with no makeup. I felt uncomfortable like I was the intruder at her home. I was upset that I was not important enough for her to get ready.

Another thing that gets on my nerves is when designers are not prepared. Once on a jobsite, this other interior designer the client had hired for styling consultation showed up with her little dog. She had nothing to take notes with and did not have a measuring tape. She kept borrowing my measuring tape. A few days later, the client called and said the interior designer never sent the furniture plan she promised. Since I was planning the full renovation, I was able to create a plan so the client can keep the project going.

I have so many examples to share with this topic. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Design Horror Stories

In the design and building industry, trade professionals often talk about bad clients. However, we seem to avoid discussing behaviors of our colleagues and teammates we find horrifying. I feel it is important to reveal these “horror stories” so we can all improve. 

I will start writing a new series sharing stories from my personal experience. I do not intend to attack my colleagues. My theory is, if we are more aware of possible issues, we can create a better project experience for our clients and teammates. 

Visual Identity Guide

This is a documentation of my journey of creating branding for a local bakery café that desperately needed creative help when COVID-19 hit. I was clueless and had to figure out everything. Many thanks to wonderful professors at Arts Media & Performance at LAMC for their support and encouragement! There is still so much to do. I am not satisfied with what I have done but is thrilled to see some results of my sweat and tear.

https://indd.adobe.com/view/964e8507-1134-4c30-a7f4-06477f639e54

Delicious Architecture

Some examples of delicious architecture in Southern California.

Design Project ‘Black List’

After two decades of working in the industry, I have learned some projects are just not meant to be. It is important to recognize those potentially problematic projects early. Taking on wrong projects results in misery for all parties involved. 

Here are some signs when a project is not right for me:

  • Unethical and/or Harmful to people, animals, or the environment. 

I became a professional designer to do good. I adhere to my set of codes of conduct.

  • Not complying with codes and regulations.

It is too much work trying to get around the codes and regulations. And it is usually not successful.

  • Order to Comply

I do not enjoy ‘reverse engineering’ and trying to make sense of a completed project based on a not thought out design. (If it was well designed, it would have gotten a permit.)

  • Post disaster with insurance involved.

These unexpected projects are complicated with many moving parts. Owners are not prepared to manage the project and also want to add on to the scope of work. It is too much for my small one-person studio to handle.

  • Unrealistic timeline and/or budget. 

This is a common situation. Most people do not have knowledge how long and how much things can take.  

  • Drafting only.

I am not interested in clients acting like designers and only wish to pay for drafting. It is a disaster when the person handling the design aspect is not qualified as a designer.

  • Demanding 3D rendering.

I am capable of communicating my ideas through sketches and drawings. If necessary, I create 3D study models. Clients should trust my abilities as a designer, not computer generated images.

  • Product-purchasing oriented.

My studio currently doesn’t have the manpower to manage product purchases. With large projects, I partner with an interior designer that is equipped and experienced in handling this task.

  • Disagreement to my business terms and conditions.

As a professional designer, I know how to conduct my business to ensure the best project outcome.

  • Wrong area of expertise.

I am not the right designer for every project. I know my limits and will recommend other experts if the project is out of my area of expertise.

  • Charity project.

The problem with giving away design ideas is people are often too grateful and don’t want to bother me to follow up when it comes to time for executing the project. 

  • It just doesn’t feel right.

Sometimes, without reason, the energy just doesn’t feel right. 

I don’t mind being seen as difficult to work with. My job is providing the best design solutions and seeing them through. It is important to do the homework before acting on any design projects. Most experienced professionals, myself included, will provide consultation services to sort out preliminary ideas. Ultimately, I want to only work on projects that ‘spark joy’.