Communication in Design & Architecture – Sibani Sarma

Is Communication in Architecture a necessity? Besides visual communication, verbal and written forms of communication are indeed important for the success of any designer.

I have come across several designers who create incredible designs which are truly meaningful in more ways than one. It always makes me think, the designer must have used various forms of communication very well in order to erect such projects. Here are some of my observations in being a via media in communicating design for the past several years.

Communicating the design to the client.

This would be key to the success of the project. Why otherwise would the client finance the project. Not often do the clients blindly finance a project. Unless the designer has been extremely successful at communicating the design, defining all the needs being fulfilled through it, the method of execution, costs, the client would have never decided to go ahead. So at this level communication definitely has a big role to play!

Communicating with the team.

It is no secret that an architect or interior designer can never take a project from conception to completion without a supportive team. The team could consist of those within the studio as well as several external consultants. Each one is as important in contributing to realizing the vision of the architect and therefore the success of the project. Unless the designer is able to communicate successfully with the team, a project can never become reality.

Marketing Communication.

Many an architect shy away from this form of communication, and I have heard them argue, “How can this matter, I am not a show-off,” or “My design stands tall for those who wish to experience it, why should I bother communicating about it myself.” I have even heard architects say, “I will never lobby for an award or for recognition by talking about my own design”.  While this may be one way of looking at it, several designers have used this very form of communication very effectively. This form of communication can be very important too. Awards and accolades serve in bringing in further projects, afterall it is said “Success breeds success”, and it also serves to educate others, especially younger designers of the vast possibilities available. Also, since an architect or a designer cannot run the entire show alone, communication of ones’ design can attract others with similar interests to collaborate in a more meaningful manner.

Communication for the sake of communication.

 In today’s world operating instructions exist not only for expensive items like aircrafts and  mobile phones, but also for low value items like a pencil pouch. Isn’t it then a surprise that operating instructions in buildings and structures almost never exist? It is a well known fact that buildings far outlive the life time of its designer. Isn’t it then important to create operating instructions for buildings? In other words every structure should be curated and communication is required just for its own sake.  This is one of the most important forms of communication which is almost always ignored.

Through time, the Masters of design have used communication very effectively and that has been part of the reason why their works have been recognized, worshipped, researched and replicated.  Communication, not just visual can lead to faster solutions, better expectation settings, and stronger collaboration. And most importantly communication skills are the strongest link between the client and the designer and the strength of the communication is what can finally determine the ultimate success or even failure of a project. 

This piece has been written by Ar. Sibani Sarma, Founder of Gallopper. Besides being the Editor of Gallopper, Sibani often helps designers in curating their projects as well as in creating well researched marketing, branding, promotional, advertorial articles for designers and building product manufacturers, both through written as well as video media.

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