The Technology Craze and Design

When you’ve been in business for 45 years you’ve seen a lot of changes in your industry. I remember the days when we had to hand draw both design and permit drawings for submission. I’ve had a lot of white shirts that needed the cuffs replaced!

Today, of course, everything is on computer! Is it more convenient – Yes! Is it more efficient – Perhaps but one thing it is not is personal.

When I design a custom home I still present the design concept with a hand drawing because I feel it creates a sense of personality and connection with the family who will live in the home. Classically trained, I still see the value of hand drawn details that incorporate the art of design.

Families LOVE it!

I am told that they appreciate the fact that I’ve taken the extra time to actually draw their house. Now, after all these years, I am able to draw to scale and sometimes faster than my technologist is able to redraw it on the computer!

There is a school of thought, that faster is better but I feel in the early stages of the process it becomes too clinical and impersonal.

When we have a final design, it is at that time my team takes over to finish the drawings for permit. What people often don’t realize is that a technologist has a skill that takes my hand drawing at scale and redraws it into a program called AutoCAD. This is when technology becomes convenient, efficient and precise.

I often think back to when Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes. He had an army of draftsmen that took his hand sketches and multiplied the drawings not only for the client but for permit. Drawing control was in a safe of sorts and under lock and key. In todays business climate, in my firm, we include a watermark to protect copyright and guarantee originality because today for convenience we transmit files electronically to our strategic partners. They are then able to add their area of expertise to the process such as engineered trusses, HVAC and plotting on the survey for the final package which is submitted to the various cities and municipalities for permit.

I still include an embossed corporate seal and my personal signature on every set of permit drawings because they are not only a representation of my work but ensures the authenticity of the design. As the designer, I hold the copyright on all of my designs and very much like Frank Lloyd Wright keep the plans under lock and key.

A hand drawn coloured rendering is presented to each family of the front elevation and that completes my design process. It is very gratifying and humbling to see the rendering framed and hanging in the families home. It compliments my personal commitment to the art of design.

It is this personal touch that is not available in our technology craze, and, in this industry, faster is not always better!

I’m sure you’ll agree.

John Williams
Architectural Designer