Understanding The Role Of An Interior Designer

An interior designer’s role is multifaceted but fundamentally commences with providing accurate design advice for the optimal safe occupation of those who work, live or use interior space. 

Operating across various sectors with different laws for product use and specification between residential and contract use, an interior designer must be aware of and comply with all building, health & safety and product regulations.

An interior designer might advise on the interior layout of a building and propose various reconfigurations and recommend products and surfaces. 

The designer may also generate 2D or 3D plans and schedules for each product, layout plans for tiles, heating and electrical socket plans for location and functions. 

Depending on the complexity and the commission, a designer may also be the point of contact for contractors.

As a designer’s choice directly impacts the wellbeing and safety of those who will occupy an interior dwelling, the advice offered must be accurate and, where necessary, obtain independently verified and transparent advice to support recommendations. 

Inaccurate advice and inappropriate specification may breach laws, incur an additional cost, generate delays or increase risks to those who invest and ultimately use the space. 

The error will impact the designer, their supplier’s reputation and generate industry complaints. 

For example, when a PC (provisional costs) price is quoted for a light fitting, additional costs may be necessary for the designer to instruct expert, independent advice to be confident that the design specification is compliant and safe.

Importance Of Interior Designing

Every individual has a dream to own a house for themselves but doesn’t ponder interior design to be all that important. 

Some people want to decorate and make their home colourful, and this is possible only with the help of interior designers. 

Only interior designers can make a home interior remarkable. Their career gains creativity, technical know-how, professional and industrial skill in space, building, architecture & human lifestyle.

The interior design stands with a look and beauty, added to the beauty, and can showcase even a studio apartment as a residence with enough space with the help of proper design and comforting lighting. 

Whereas a poor interior design makes a larger house that lacks space. Interior designers are experts in creating more spaces, improving the space efficiency, improving the functional usage of space, improving the lighting effect, improving the colour effects, improving the textures, patterns, scale, size etc. 

They are also experts in selecting fittings & equipment. To be precise, it is all about transforming people’s lives and makes their life a better one. Hence interior design is much important than it seems.

The simple fact to hire an interior designer is that they understand the owner’s need and brings their dream home alive. 

They also can design the house according to Vastu (vasthu) or any tradition as per the client’s demand which is an added advantage. Another benefit to having a better interior designed home is that it will fetch higher bids during the sale of the house than any other.

Everyman doesn’t possess the skill to design a home. So it’s wise to hire an interior designer as they are qualified by edification, skill, practice, and examination to enrich the utility and quality of interior space. 

There are worthy reasons to hire an interior designer while building a new house and during a renovation as it ensures that it brings out the exact look and design we wish to have that makes us a proud owner.

The 7 Principles Of Design

Understanding The Role Of An Interior Designer

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space.

Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose. Visually, this functionality is interpreted by making sure an image has a centre of attention, a point of focus. 

Maybe you’re thinking, ‘But wait! I thought the design was all about creativity?’ If you’re an entrepreneur or designer who’s just starting, you might be tempted to go wild and combine the first five typefaces and colours that catch your eye, believing you’re creating something fresh and new. You will probably find yourself with a design that is muddled, unfinished, or, well, just plain ugly.

Graphic design, like any discipline, adheres to strict rules that work beneath the surface to make the work stable and balanced. If the work is missing that balance, it will be weak and ineffective.

This article will take you through 7 basic principles of design that will make your next project stand out.

Emphasis

Say you’re creating a poster for a concert. You should ask yourself: what is the first piece of information your audience needs to know? Is it the band? Or the concert venue? What about the day and the cost of attending?

Make a mental outline. Let your brain organize the information and then lay out your design in a way that communicates that order. If the band’s name is the essential information, place it in the centre or make it the biggest element on the poster. 

Or you could put it in the strongest, boldest type. Learn about colour theory and use strong colour combinations to make the band name pop.

Like writing without an outline or building without a blueprint, if you start your composition without a clear idea of what you’re trying to communicate, your design will not succeed.

Balance And Alignment

Never forget that every element you place on a page has a weight. The weight can come from colour, size, or texture. 

Just like you wouldn’t put all your furniture in one corner of a room, you can’t crowd all your heavy elements in one area of your composition. Without balance, your audience will feel as if their eye is sliding off the page.

There are three different kinds of balance:

  • Symmetrical or formal: Traditional or formal spaces call for an asymmetrical balance where space is evenly split into two sides that mirror each other. For example, two chairs on either side of a coffee table can be said to be symmetrically balanced. This kind of balance is easy to achieve as design elements are repeated on each side. If you are not careful, this kind of balance can become monotonous and boring.
  • Asymmetrical or Informal: The visual weights of lines, colours, forms, and textures are balanced without exact duplication. It is not as ordered as symmetrical balance and can be more complex and exciting. For instance, a sofa can be balanced by placing two chairs on the other side.
  • Radial balance is achieved when there is a central focal point with other elements radiating from it or around it. An example would be a round dining table, with chairs arranged around it. There is a lot of repetition of form, texture, and colour.

Contrast

Contrast is what people mean when they say a design “pops.” It comes away from the page and sticks in your memory. 

Contrast creates space and difference between elements in your design. Your background needs to be significantly different from the colour of your elements, so they work harmoniously together and are readable.

If you plan to work with type, understanding contrast is incredibly essential because it means the weight and size of your type are balanced. How will your audience know what is most important if everything is in bold?

As you seek examples of really strong, effective design, you’ll notice most designs only feature one or two typefaces. That’s because contrast can be effectively achieved with two strong fonts (or even one strong typeface in different weights). As you add fonts, you dilute and confuse the purpose of your design.

Repetition

If you limit yourself to two strong typefaces or three strong colours, you’ll soon find you’ll have to repeat some things. 

That’s ok! It’s often said that repetition unifies and strengthens a design. If only one thing on your band poster is in blue italic sans-serif, it can read like an error. If three things are in blue italic sans-serif, you’ve created a motif and are back in control of your design.

Repetition can be important beyond one printed product. Current packaging design is heavily embracing beautiful illustrated patterns. Anyone thinking about a startup knows one of the first things you need is a strong logo to feature on your website, business cards, social media and more. Brand identity? Another term for repetition.

Proportion

Proportion is the visual size and weight of elements in a composition and how they relate to each other. It often helps to approach your design in sections instead of as a whole.

Grouping related items can give them importance at a smaller size—think of a box at the bottom of your poster for ticket information or a sidebar on a website for a search bar. 

Proportion can be achieved only if all elements of your design are well-sized and thoughtfully placed. Once you master alignment, balance, and contrast, proportion should emerge organically.

Movement

Going back to our concert poster. If you decided the band was the most important piece of information on the page and the venue was the second, how would you communicate that with your audience?

Movement is controlling the elements in a composition so that the eye is led to move from one to the next and the information is properly communicated to your audience. Movement creates the story or the narrative of your work: a band is playing, it’s at this location, it’s at this time, here’s how you get tickets. 

The elements above—especially balance, alignment, and contrast—will work towards that goal, but without proper movement, your design will be DOA.

If you look at your design and feel your eye get “stuck” anywhere on it—an element is too big, too bold, slightly off-centre, not a complimentary colour—go back and adjust until everything is in harmony.

White Space

All of the other elements deal with what you add to your design. White space (or negative space) is the only one that specifically deals with what you don’t count. White space is exactly that—the empty page around the elements in your composition. 

For beginning designers, it can be an unsafe zone. Often simply giving a composition more room to breathe can upgrade it from mediocre to successful.

White space isn’t sitting there doing nothing—it’s creating hierarchy and organization. Our brains naturally associate ample white space around an element with importance and luxury. It’s telling our eyes that objects in one region are grouped separately from objects elsewhere.

It can even more exciting to communicate an entirely different image or idea from your main design that will reward your audience for engaging with it. 

The logo above uses active negative space to communicate multiple ideas in one fun, creative design.

Other Principles Of Design

Understanding The Role Of An Interior Designer2

Other principles of design are also touched upon in various articles on the subject. These include typography, colour, Gestalt Principles, grid and alignment, framing, and shape. Some definitely fit the definition of “principles”, while others are more like elements of design.

  • Typography refers to the way text is arranged in a design. That includes the fonts used, their spacing, size, and weight, and the way different text elements relate to each other. Good typographic design is heavily influenced by all of the other design principles mentioned earlier in this article.
  • The use of colour in design is one of the most psychologically important parts of a design and has a huge influence on user experience. Colour psychology and theory heavily influence some of the other principles mentioned earlier.
  • Gestalt Principles include similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry & order (also called prägnanz). Some of those principles are closely related to the principles mentioned above.
  • Grid and alignment are closely related to balance and refer to the way elements are arranged in relation to an invisible grid on the page.
  • Framing refers to how the primary subject of a design is placed in relation to other elements on the page. It’s most often heard referred to in cinematography or photography, with how the main focus of an image is placed within the overall image. But the principle carries over into design.
  • The shape is also a significant part of any design, both in terms of specific shapes used as elements within the design and the overall shape of the design itself. Different shapes can evoke different feelings, i.e. circles are organic and fluid, while squares are more rigid and formal, and triangles give a sense of energy or Movement.

These design “principles” or elements are important aspects of good design and should be considered alongside the other basic principles to create the best user experiences.

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