Hello, today I would like to make an introduction to a service we will add again soon to our website which is directed at private residential clients. I am talking about E-Design.
This is something that I did for a short while even before I founded A Designer at Heart Ltd. In 2016, it was something quite new, and in just a few years it became very popular among designers. What fascinated me already then was the huge potential for connections that could be created. I loved the idea that I could work from home and still be in touch with people from all over the world. I didn’t do it long enough to make it a regular service. Shortly after, I got my first project for a student accommodation and I have been working only on commercial projects since. But even in that short period of time, I managed to work for a client as far as Azerbaijan.
The service itself basically consists of delivering a full interior design service through digital channels, remotely. And if there is one word that has been used daily over the past two years, is just that one.
As for countless other businesses, in fact, the pandemic accelerated the development and popularity of e-design, as more people needed interior designers' services while being under restrictions and social distancing rules.
After a few years, I recently had the opportunity to work on a residential site here in London (look forward to sharing more details here soon!). And this reminded me of the little e-design venture I had attempted and made me want to give it another go. Since now the company has evolved (I didn’t even have a company when I launched this service back then) and we have a whole different structure and branding. I still need to figure out what sort of remote services I want to offer and what packages to put together. So let’s start to have a look at e-design together and review the basics.
E-design services can come in very different forms depending on the offering or also the needs of each client. But the basic process remains the same.
The interior designer communicates with the client to define the project down to the smallest detail but will not physically visit the space. This means that an effective collaboration between the parties is extremely important, for instance when it comes to taking the measurements.
The whole e-design process in fact requires the client to put in a bit more leg work than a regular interior design service. This helps contain the costs but might also give more control over the process. For instance, it is a more relaxed and laid-back process, since you can decide on the timing and work schedules. E-design services usually offer also a lot of flexibility as they can be required even for a single room, with overall development times that are much shorter.
The initial phase involves the client filling in a questionnaire with a series of questions aimed at understanding every bit of information relevant to properly develop the desired project. From practical ones such as what works and what does not, how many people live in it, budget, and so on, to more style-related ones.
This is a very important step as it allows the designer to properly personalise the service. After that usually, an introductory call is organised to go even more in-depth into what is that the clients hope to achieve with the project. After this is the designer’s time to create.
The service will include moodboards, layouts, and inspirational images to reach the desired ‘look & feel’. To the preliminary phase, depending on the requirements might follow 3d models for every space developed or detailed layout drawings, all complemented by a list of suggested materials, furniture, and accessories. Different clients might also prefer different levels of communication. I once designed a bathroom entirely on WhatsApp.
We usually issue drawings in CAD and PDF for the contractor to develop our design, as well as guidelines on interior finishes, which the client can implement with the help of decorators and carpenters.
In general, the e-design service is conceived to be a low-cost option for someone who is looking for a nice and more refined interior space but might not be able to afford a full interior design service. Others might like some DIY but first, prefer to have suggestions from a professional.
In general e-design services became popular among small firms, or freelance interior designers who wanted to expand their network of clients in an agile way without having to travel, to make everything more efficient. Larger companies too after a while started to implement their own services.
The pandemic, however, changed the perspective on this service as well. While luxury services are much more in-depth and offer a more complete customer experience that has to be delivered in person, the need for social distancing has partially forced different practices. People with different expectations and service requirements, in certain situations, had to adapt to use a remote service.
So, even though you will not find luxury designers offering full interior styling projects done remotely, there is an increasing range of choices including even more premium options with varying prices.
In this respect, there are numerous advantages to a service delivered remotely for both parties. There is considerable time-saving which usually corresponds to lower fees, that still give access to higher-level services for prices equal or even slightly lower than those of traditional services. All for a complete service down to the furniture details.
Secondly, it allows clients to really pick their favourite style. Not being limited by geographical boundaries, opens countless possibilities.
In general also, as noted a while back by Architectural Digest designers have been capitalising on smaller projects to cope with the pandemic aftermath. Many evolved their services going into projects with narrow scopes, that Architectural Digest defined “Micro Decorating”, which indicates design and decorations for single rooms, or just parts of an entire space.
As of 2021, a lot of people also look for designers to develop the ideal home office and since they spend more time at home they are generally more aware of the importance of a well-designed, well-organised residential space.
Design is evolving and e-design has become an important part of the industry. It is not just a cheap service offered by small studios, but a popular choice that has become significantly diversified. From more affordable right up to premium design services, this change born a while ago and finally sparked by the pandemic has brought great flexibility and increased options to clients. At the same time, this has offered designers the opportunity to diversify their services, and reach out to people worldwide.
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