ADVICE ON FINDING CLIENTS
When you are asked to undertake a ‘client-based’ project
in as part of your design and technology education it normally
means undertaking a project, which is targeted at people who
are not ‘you’. Designing for yourself is a good
way of getting started, but ultimately you must learn to design
for others’ needs and requirements. That is part of learning
to be a designer.
All the people with an interest in the design are sometimes
known as stakeholders. Stakeholders include manufacturers,
distributors, retailers, users, market researchers, dismantlers - anyone
who has a role within the life-cycle of the product.
In order to begin to work out who might act as a client for
your project, try answering the following questions.
• How would your design be made if it was to be produced
commercially or in quantity?
How would your design be distributed to the markets where it
is sold? Or given away?
Who would be the retailers? Or the people who would be the
direct interface between the public and your product?
Who would use your product?
Are there any organisations that understand and research the
market or use for the kind of product you are designing?
What happens to the product at the end of its useful life?
Who has to deal with it when it is no longer useful?
You should discuss with your teacher who you are expected
to get feedback on your project from for the Awarding Body
assessing your AS/A2 project, but generally it is understood
that for student project work, people from any stage of the
product life-cycle can act as clients. If you are getting feedback
on your design, then you should get feedback from as many stakeholders
Clients for professional designers
The term ‘client’ is borrowed from the professional
practice of design. Professional designers work for clients,
who pay them for their work.
Clients, in the professional sense, fulfil a role between
the designers and the users, understanding and interpreting
users’ needs and requirements. In the modern world
clients will use market researchers and might, for example,
be major retail or distribution organisations.
Clients for sustainable design
However for sustainable design, it is important to remember
that there are other important stakeholders in design, which
are future generations. Sustainable design is about meeting
the needs of existing people without compromising the capability
of future generations to meet their needs.
In relation to the Sustainable Design Awards (SDA), it might
be initially most useful to refer to the ‘Problem Originator ’ (eg
CAT. ITDG or LU), but also remember that there are other stakeholders
from whom you could get feedback. It would be good practice
to get feedback from all stakeholders, but we must rely on
current generations to take account of the needs future ones!
Learn to use the sustainable design tools which the SDA scheme
introduces you to as well as you can - particularly for
the sake of those who follow.