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Visual Communication in Interiors

5 March 2017


"Design is intelligence made visible" – Alina Wheeler

Simply put, interior design ideas will remain as ideas until actually executed. And a successful interior designer knows how to present his work to an audience in order to grasp that opportunity to perform this execution.

I do struggle with speaking presentations, myself. As a young designer, it is easy to get intimidated by paying clients who may or may not decide to put money on your proposals. Luckily enough, as I have learned gradually through the years, this is not always the case. Most of the time, the clients are already more than willing to approve the proposals and get the project ball rolling. After all, they have already scanned the interior designer’s portfolio even before the initial meeting.

Visual Communication in Interiors

In a nutshell, the main goal of a design presentation is… well.. to present the design. Presentations are a platform where designers and clients exchange ideas and ideals for a project at hand. It is, somehow in its own way, a process of diplomatic trial and error until both parties agree on a common ground.

And although public speaking skills are of high value in carrying out design presentations, design ideas are most popularly conveyed via visual representations. In any case, interior design is mostly visual. I’ve never heard of an interior designer who won a project by solely telling stories. But I firmly believe that visual communication is key into effective presentation of design intent.

“Create your own visual style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.“ Orson Welles.

Studies show that 80% of people learn with their eyes. And interior design is composed of geometric elements in different forms and sizes, which can only be explained visually. Ad so, in order to manifest your design intent, the best way to do so is through drawings and graphics.

And so the purpose of this blog is to celebrate the bearing of visual communication in interior design. Through the years, techniques have been developed and redeveloped while old methods are still being effective depending on the client’’s - and designer’s – taste.

2-dimensional representations

I’ve met really good designers that can immediately visualise their design solutions just by being in the space. I admire them and have been greatly influenced by them. But even the greatest designers have to go back to the drawing board, be it in the virtual or traditional sense. And every design development always starts with a 2-dimensional scaled drawing. As interior designers, it is important to realise the spatial relationships of interior elements in relation to anthropometrics. And 2D drawings is the first step to understand this.

Floor Plans have gone a long way from manually drafted blueprints to inter-relational set of external references in Computer Aided Design. I did struggle to find a decent blueprint image online. This is a definite classic!

2-dimensional representations Source: wonderfulengineering.com via Pinterest

Floor plans are sometimes a little bit intimidating when it is presented in its technical form. When rendered, however, it becomes more relatable, as well as comprehensible. Floor plans are useful representations of space planning in terms of proximity and traffic circulation.

2-dimensional representations Source: Coroflot.com via Pinterest

Interior Elevations are always interesting to see as it manifests the design in terms of height and sizes in relation to human scale.

2-dimensional representations Source: Pinterest

And in comes the third dimension

As interesting as 2d drawings have evolved in the years, sometimes, clients still struggle to grasp the real life representation of an interior design scheme. 3d drawings are always useful to give better comprehension of a design intent as real life situations are, well, 3-dimensional.

Isometrics and Axonometric Drawings are the simplest form of 3d representations. Basic as they may seem, they are fun, and sometimes, even playful.

And in comes the third dimension Source: Pinterest

This isometric illustration took the leverage of exploding the model to give more information and, at the same time, provide that wow factor.

And in comes the third dimension Source: archdaily.com via Pinterest

Perspective drawings, however, gives the most realistic illustration of a designed space. It takes the consideration of a human eye’s perception of space and gives the most truthful appeal to the space

And in comes the third dimension Source: Behance.net via Pinterest

With the advancement of graphic technologies, production of 3d perspectives have become a lot easier and more manageable through Computer Aided Design. Results can come out so realistic that, at times, it’s even a struggle to figure out whether it’s real or not

And in comes the third dimension Source: behance.net via Pinterest

But despite the technological development, there’s something about perspectives in ink that makes them personal and quite special. They are a work of art on their own, after all.

And in comes the third dimension Source: Pinterest

Free Hand

Freehand sketching is not only helpful for the designer during the design conceptualization process. It is quite an interesting illustration to a client’s eyes as this allows them to see through the design development process. And as freehand drawings are immediate and can be done impromptu, this exposes the designer’s skills and creative talent.

Free Hand Source: archdaily.com via Pinterest

Mood boards can range from placing mood images, material samples, color schemes, sketches and whatnot. Some designers opt to incorporate sketches and other technical images alongside with material samples. I believe, however, that the best mood boards evoke emotion, hence the term “mood”. It is to introduce the power of interior design to affect the subliminal and the holistic experience of space.

In this day and age, it is easier to produce digital mood boards via computer aided design. As with computer 3d rendering, digital boards though cad is quick, efficient and less costly. However, it lacks the element of tactile sensation that is also an added value for a design presentation. Like most things, it has its own pros and cons. But a good interior designer always makes the most of any kind of media on hand.

Free Hand Source: archdaily.com via Pinterest

Digital boards may also take advantage of the option for digital graphic design to further communicate design intent. Possibilities are endless.

Free Hand Source: polyvore.com via Pinterest

Physical mood boards, on the other hand is always fun and engaging, both for the interior designer and the client alike. It is falls a lot closer to reality with the added tactile impression.

Free Hand Source: kathykuohome.com via Pinterest

Mood boards can be 100% freestyle

Free Hand Source: eclectrictrends.com via Pinterest

Or strictly structured

Free Hand Source: Studio David Thulstrup via Pinterest

The topic of visual communication is broader than what we can fit in a blog page. The topic is as wide as a human’s creative imagination. It is just so interesting to see how technology has enhanced our options and how traditional settings are still kept through the years.

At the end of the day, it is an interior designer’s skills and talents that can sell his design schemes.

Are you in love with Interior Design? Learn more about Visual Communication for Interiors by signing up on our online Interior Design School to get your own accredited diploma on Interior Design and be a fully certified Interior Designer.