Asking Matt Plaskoff: What makes a designer great?

Question #1: What makes a great designer and a great designing experience?

The psychology of the design process is actually very interesting.  Many people struggle with moving forward on their design project because, although they want all the options and selections in front of them, there are so many they get overloaded and shut down. What makes our designers great is that we are the filter to prevent them from being overwhelmed. We ask the right questions to help eliminate the choices they don’t need to see, which allows them to make great selections and move forward.

Questions #2: What’s the saying, paralysis by analysis? Is that the scenario you are describing?

Pretty much.  Although we may have 50 samples of a given component with us, in order to keep the process simple, we ask a series of questions for each part of the bathroom ahead of time. This helps filter the client’s decisions so we only bring out the samples we believe are going to please them. I can’t tell you how many times our designers or myself will show the client a product and they’ll say, “let me see more”, and they end up choosing the first one we showed them. A great designer asks questions, filters the answers, determines the needs and likes, and then brings things to the table that we know the customer is really looking for.

Question #3: Do you find that because of your format, which brings clients through the material selection process, the decisions fall into place naturally, and you’re able to give them the outcome they wanted?

While we don’t necessarily want them to make a whole bunch of changes after we’ve already made our decision, we always give them the option so that they don’t feel stuck with something they wish they had switched. Making changes all the time will, of course, affect the efficiency and time to create the bathroom, but it’s not the end of the world.  If a client wakes up in a cold sweat and realizes they want to revisit their faucet choice, we want to enable them to do so.

Question #4: Do you ever get to a place where people are just selecting stuff that is kind of zany and doesn’t fit together well, so you want to tell them to not go that route because it may look weird?

I think it’s pragmatic. In the end, it’s their bathroom and it is completely up to them.  If someone wants to do a Dodgers-themed bathroom, we can do that.  I just like to give the pros and cons of what it means when they are making those decisions. When someone is picking things I think will clash or not pair together nicely, I give the reasons as to why I don’t think it’s a good idea: Resale being a big reason.  A majority of the public is going to walk in and say “I don’t like that”, which will likely affect resale. A second reason is functionality. It may be a cool idea, but if it will cause functional issues, it just won’t work.  Last reason would be if the colors or patterns clash.  I have found that if you educate the client on the reasons why a choice might not be the best idea, they usually understand and make a great selection.

– Matt Plaskoff

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