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Last edited 15 Oct 2019
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.
 Who makes design proposals?
- A new building or building refurbishment.
- Town planning or urban design improvements.
- Interior design
- Product design
- New infrastructure.
- A design competition.
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.
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).
 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.
 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.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural design.
- Comparison of work stages
- Concept architectural design.
- Concept design.
- Design coordination.
- Design management.
- Design methodology.
- Design principles.
- Design team.
- Detailed design.
- Manual drafting techniques.
- Mood board.
- Truth to materials.
- What is design?
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