The preliminary design(s) created in this process of continual refinement must be evaluated by the designer or design team, as well the client, for the project to continue successfully.
Presentation of the preliminary design may be highly informal or formal, depending on the nature of the project. In all cases it is useful to consider the purpose of the presentation as well as its audience.
The audience for a preliminary presentation may include the client, consultants, real estate professionals, and those with financial interests in the project. Prior to the creation of any presentation, it is worthwhile to take time to assess the audience for the presentation; identifying and understanding this audience is imperative to the quality of the communication. In addressing members of the design team or design consultants, a presentation may consist of rough sketches and multiple layers of paper. Designers and most consultants are familiar with orthographic drawings and can wade through some confusing and messy drawings and notes.
Many clients, however, require easy-to-understand graphic images as a means to understanding the schematic presentation. The client must understand the preliminary design to evaluate and approve it, which is necessary for the project to continue successfully. The preliminary client presentation must communicate the underlying project research and the constraints that have led to the preliminary design.

These include preliminary budg

etary information, preliminary scheduling information, research of appropriate building codes, and programming information. Generally at a minimum the preliminary schematic design presentation requires a floor plan as a means of communicating the space plan. When the project involves more than one floor, each floor plan and stacking plan is typically included in the preliminary presentation. The preliminary presentation floor plan(s) may be drawn freely, drafted with tools, or generated on CADD. Regardless of the means of drawing or drafting, the floor plan should be drawn to scale and include a North arrow and titles.
If the designers wish to communicate several design schemes, the various floor plans must be labeled clearly with some sort of notation system, such as “Scheme 1” or “Concept 1.” Some preliminary presentations include programming information, floor plans, and minimal additional graphics, whereas other projects require preliminary presentations that include additional drawings such as elevations, sections, and preliminary perspective drawings, as well as models and materials samples. The following chapters cover some of these additional forms of preliminary presentation. A successful presentation of the preliminary schematic design communicates information to the client and other interested parties and allows for input, comments, criticism, and approval. Figures 2-12a and 2-12b are examples of a schematic design presentation for the sample project and are based on issues covered to this point. Figures 2-13a and 213b are examples of a professional schematic design presentation. Most often designers come away from a preliminary presentation with lists of suggestions from the client.
 These range from minor corrections or clarifications to major changes in functional, conceptual, or aesthetic aspects of the design. The information generated by feedback to the first schematic presentation allows the designers to move forward in the refinement of the design. Depending on project requirements and constraints, and the number of changes requested by the client, more schematic presentations may be required. It is common for smaller, less complicated projects to receive quick general approval, allowing the designers to move forward in the design process. Larger projects can require many additional meetings and presentations before the client grants approval of the schematic design.

In interviewing designers, I have found great variety in the formality, visual quality, and quantity of information included in preliminary design presentations. Clearly there is a range of styles of presentation, and firms have varying standards. Even with this great variety, there seem to be elements of consistency. Most designers describe a need to communicate very clearly in early presentations and to make sure that the client understands the elements of the design presented. Most also describe the importance of making clear the very preliminary nature of the design. Many designers find that clients need time to settle into ideas; thus, pinning things down too early can be frightening and frustrating for them.


The design development of a project involves finalizing the space plan and fully developing all of the components of the design. All aspects of the design must come together and be resolved in this phase of the project. It is useful for students to know that the goal is to have the design of a project completed in the design development phase.
 It is important to keep in mind that the phase following design development is construction documentation, which involves preparation of the project for construction. In large firms the project is often handed from the design team to the production team upon completion of design development. In a perfect world, every detail would be considered and resolved in the design development phase of a project. For the most part, design development drawings are drafted accurately and to scale. Some designers create design development drawings that are somewhat sketchy, and others create extremely precise, highly detailed drawings. In either case, the entire volume of a space must be explored and refined to ensure a successful design project and to allow for a smooth transition into the construction documentation phase of the project. The presentation made upon the completion of the design development phase is often seen as the comprehensive final design presentation of a project. This presentation must include every possible element of the design to ensure clear communication of the final design. Orthographic drawings — including detailed floor plans, ceiling plans, detailed elevations, sections, and design details—are generally part of the presentation. In addition, technical
drawings, millwork drawings and samples, materials samples, and furnishings and fixtures samples and images are often included in the final design development presentation. Smaller projects often move quickly from schematic to design development and involve minimal presentations. More complex projects require many interim presentations and meetings. Weekly or biweekly design meetings are not uncommon on large or complex projects.
 Final design presentations vary enormously because of the variety of projects and working styles of designers. Clearly there is no existing industry standard for the preparation of design development presentations. It is with pride and sometimes secrecy that firms and designers create successful presentations. Although design presentations reflect the concerns, aesthetics, and tastes of designer(s) and client, communication is the one constant in their preparation. The final design presentation must clearly communicate all elements of the design. For the project to move forward, the design must be understood and approved by the client. In addition to the client or end user, a wide range of individuals may have to review and approve the design.
 Projects dependent on public funding, such as libraries and municipal buildings, often require public review of the design. Many require design approval of municipal agencies or local community groups. Investors and consultants must often review design presentations before a project can move forward. All of these individuals form the eventual audience for the design presentation, and understanding this audience is key to the successful communication of the design. The following chapters offer information on additional visual devices employed in the design and presentation of projects. These are discussed separately for purposes of clarity, but all are used throughout the design process as a means of exploring and communicating the design.

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