The design program

Let’s imagine that you have just completed an exciting meeting with your client. Lots of ideas were shared back and forth. Enticing possibilities for a grand bathroom design were explored. You are eager to sketch, pull out material samples, and develop your thoughts into a new design. Ready to go? What, start by writing a design program? No, you say, let’s just go straight to the design. You can incorporate the client’s needs as you go along.

If you skip the design program, how will you know what to design? Design programming is an important and necessary part of successfully completing the design process. When we discussed the design process, did you note how often we recommended you check your developing design against the various parts of the design program? Think of the design program as the contract between you and your client. It is an organized directory of all the client’s needs, wants, and wishes for the bathroom design, plus the important parameters of the total design.

Chapter 5, "Assessing Needs," talked about the design program as "both your guide through the design process and the inspiration to your creativity." Developing the design program allows you to make sure you have—and understand—all the information necessary for the bathroom design. A typical design program is in three parts:

• Goals and purpose

• Objectives and priorities

• Activities and relationships