HomeDesignDesign Before Technology

Design Before Technology

As I write this article, I look at all the technology in our office that did not exist when I started my first job at a Boston architectural firm back in 1983. The drafting tables are gone. I now sit (and stand) at an adjustable desk with 2 monitors. I have a laptop that can be carried to meetings. The blueprint machine has been replaced with a plotter. Although paper is still the common medium, the practice of plotting has been greatly reduced and replaced with electronic drawings.  This current practice is efficient and provides a green aspect with less paper usage.

Client presentations were always in person as video meetings and digital presentations were non-existent. Portfolio cases and bags were packed and carried to meetings. Samples and images were mounted to foam core or illustration board with descriptive words created with tape and rub on lettering. Our presentations were displayed on easels or hung on tackboards.

Today, when preparing for a presentation, a laptop and email invitation are the delivery methods. With 3D capabilities, the client can visualize the design intent and provide instant feedback, while sitting at their computer. Before 3D computer capabilities, renderings were hand drawn to convey the design intent. Using markers and colored pencils, the design came to life.

When I look at the past and compare the current efficiencies and new technology to assist designers, I can only wonder what the next 40 years will bring.  I believe Virtual Reality and the immersive experience will become a common expectation from clients as a part of the design experience. Hand renderings will be a cherished memory for those of us old enough to remember.