What Does a Commercial Designer Do?

Design Services and the Design Process

An interior design professional contributes at every phase of your project to ensure that the final result exceeds your expectations and ensures the health, safety and welfare of all who may use or occupy the space.  The designer can also assist in putting together the other members of the project team, such as the architect, general contractor, decorator and consultants for lighting, commercial kitchens, acoustics, art selection, etc.

The following is a list of services the designer can provide at each phase of the design process:

Defining the Scope

  • Planning and Design: feasibility studies, space planning, tenant development, budget analysis, design concepts, finish specifications, furniture specifications, art and accessory programs,
  • Construction Co-ordination: project management, bid management, move management, post occupancy evaluations

Programming involving the right people and gaining insight into:

  • the calendar life of the project
  • the strategic plan (as it relates to the facility, people, technology)
  • the work flow
  • the equipment and technology
  • the budgetary and maintenance issues

Schematic combines the insight gained in programming with design expertise to begin a dialogue regarding design solutions. This is typically conveyed through:

  • drawings: proposed space plans, detail drawings, elevations, 3D sketches, animated walk through
  • budgets
  • material samples
  • product cut sheets
  • product mock-ups

Design Development refines the concepts approved in the schematic phase.  Finalizing specifications of architectural plan and details, lighting, materials, furnishings, equipment and budgets.

Construction Documentation often involves the most interface with other design team professionals and consultants to make sure all aspects of the project are properly documented.

Construction Administration insures the project is built-out based on the documented design and specifications arrived at from previous phases. Administration may include:

  • Periodic inspection of work progress
  • Review and approval of submittals
  • Punch lists
  • Authorization for payment
  • As-built document production

For more information, see the definition of interior design developed by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, as well as an explanation of the differences between interior design and decorating.

Selecting a Commercial Interior Designer

If your project is small, you can contact the designer directly to discuss your needs. Consult the ASID Designer Referral Service for a qualified designer near you, or contact the local ASID Chapter.

For larger projects, you will want to submit a Request for Proposal to several firms that have done similar projects that you like.

You can view samples of designer projects on the ASID Desinger Referral Service.