Last edited 15 Oct 2019

Design proposals


[edit] Introduction

A design proposal can comprise a set of documents, reports and statements (in various formats) that have been drawn up by design professionals to present an outline of their solution to a client’s requirements.

[edit] Who makes design proposals?

Construction industry professionals who may be asked for design proposals include:

Design proposals can be drawn up by any of the above acting either as sole designers or in design teams, which may include input from other professional, eg, engineers, cost consultants etc.

In construction, the client or sponsor may have commissioned an architect, town planner, engineer or other designer to draw-up proposals in respect of:

The aim of the design proposal is to gain the approval of clients, or in the case of architectural/design competitions, win approval from the judges. Within the confines of the information formats presented (see below), the proposals must give a comprehensive outline or impression of what the designer intends to be their solution to the problem. Planning applications for local authority approval are also a form of design proposal. Although only an outline, the design proposal (or concept) may be referred to throughout the design process and local planning departments will usually require that architects remain true to their original design intentions.

[edit] Qualities of a design proposal

To succeed in its aim, a design proposal should:

  • Satisfy the client’s criteria Ie. solve the original problem.
  • Be informative.
  • Be impressive and attractive using innovation, colour, form, human scale, choice of materials etc.
  • Be achievable within the proposed budget (this may not apply to design competitions or those aimed at generating ideas).
  • Be buildable ie, feasible from practicable, technical, social, economic and timescale criteria (this may not apply to design competitions or those aimed at generating ideas).

Failure to achieve one or more of the above criteria could reflect badly on the designer, lose them the commission and even harm their reputation.

[edit] Information gathering

Prior to drawing-up and submitting design proposals, designers may meet the client to gather more information about the brief and to ask questions the answers to which may not be readily apparent. This may be followed by the architect or designer conducting their own research to gather more information on the project and possibly about the client. This can be followed by a site visit which can be used to take photographs and measurements, establish site orientation, information about neighbouring properties and any other constraints that may impact the design.

[edit] Presentation formats

Traditionally, architectural /urban/interior design proposals have usually been presented through drawings (plans, sections, elevations, photographs, sketches, perspectives and axonometrics), scale models and reports. However, the widespread use of computer software has added more formats, including computer renderings (2D and 3D), computer models and graphics, videos, online tools, as well as the more ‘traditional’ PowerPoint-style presentations.

When the proposals are completed, they are usually sent by the designer to the client accompanied by a report and/or proposal letter. These may contain summary information on how the design meets the client’s brief.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki