dd Digital Tools to get Ahead - images provided by Gensler-1588240027828
Image Credit:

From site-meetings on need-to-know basis and designers having to adjust to working remotely with only virtual exchange with their teams, the design profession as we knew it has ceased to exist. Sure, these drastic changes are temporary, but without doubt, the current crisis will establish new paradigms for design studios, and indeed how the business of design can be run.

In the ‘new’ normal, the design profession will be forced to examine its long-standing studio models. Can there be more room for working from home? Is a flexi-hours approach feasible? Do designers need to spend time and money travelling to sites or meeting clients in person, all the time? Do we need huge overheads such rents, internal fit-out fee and services bills? Key to these considerations will be (and it has already started) a slimmed down bottom line that not only makes up for the COVID-19 related losses, but also future-proofs their business creatively and commercially.

To ensure their relevance and hire-ability in this scenario, and to fully embrace new modes of work and offer better ROI to their clients, design professionals must invest in brushing up their digital skills.

DESIGN AND PRESENTATION

Everyone is already working on AutoCADLT, arguably one of the most popular software applications used by architects, interior designers and trade professionals, but this is the time to upskill on that foundation.

For experienced 2D and 3D CAD users, TurboCAD is the next step-up with very easy transition. With increased functionality on 2D solutions, this software offers photorealistic surface modelling, with immaculate lighting that can help designers visualise and present their schemes more effectively.

Another software that is upping the ante in design industry recruitment is Autodesk Revit. This BIM (Building Industry Modelling) software works across various disciplines of architecture, interior and even planning, allowing designers to efficiently capture their design intent in 2D and 3D documentation. Integrating the various design elements, users can easily update floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D views. Through BIM 360 Design, Revit can connect teams remotely as well — ideal for the working from home or remotely.

For fast and easy 3D modelling, nothing quite beats SketchUp PRO. Simply create proposals in layered 2D formats, then extrude with destinated heights and add customisable materials and textures. Looking to impress clients, integrate SketchUp with virtual reality applications to create detailed walk-throughs. Archicad23 cannot only help create client converting visuals, but also deliver accurate construction details and estimate quantities of building materials needed.

Whilst Adobe’s Substance helps create bespoke and precise material palettes to add to their projects, Morpholio Board can turn mood boards into spreadsheets, spec books, contractor-ready cut sheets as well as client presentations. For quick consultations — which are fast becoming additional revenue streams for small and boutique practices — Easyhome Homestyler can help designers consolidate ideas, group concepts for client presentations and budgeting.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

For efficient control and overview of the entire design process — from concept, to billing and on-site execution — and in view of how both team and client interaction might be forever altered, investing in digital tools to connect the dots is imperative — be it for a studio, or a freelancer.

Fuigo is ideal for small businesses; it can help professionals collate everything in once place. From tracking changes to drawings and documentations, to sourcing, purchasing as well as scheduling and follow-ups on invoices and payments — Fuigo is a one stop management solution for SMEs and consultants. Similarly, software such as Ivy and CoConstruct can help reduce chaos, help effective exchange of ideas, and track processes with ease.

Mydoma can help designers shorten ideation time by simplifying their mood boards. It can also help create personalised vendor lists. Offering users the options to incorporate their firm’s branding, Mydoma can easily be embedded within their own websites.

Offering unimagined time efficiency, ClickUp not only performs business and project management functions, by integration with Google, Slack, GitHub, Outlook, it can cut out the clutter between communications, helping bring both internal and external stakeholders on the same page.