‘You learn something new everyday’
I love that phrase, it’s so true. Everyday’s a school day.
You may have worked with architects before, but I have compiled a list of things I’ve learnt from working with them at DKA for 3.5 years, lessons and top tips which are applicable to many a workplace I’m sure!
There was a time (I’m embarrassed to admit this) when I didn’t line things up. I was haphazard, slapdash, preferred speed over consideration and this is clearly visible in my old work and portfolio. While doing my stint as an ‘Architectural Assistant’ I had to draw up plans, sections, elevations and draw them up fast. So I did. With no regard to how the notes looked. I can remember the loud exhale of my boss followed by ‘why haven’t you lined the notes up?’ I then spent some time going through a whole set of drawings lining up arrows and notes thinking ‘this is such a waste of time, people are reading the notes, not checking to see if they line up’. Turns out lining things up IS important and I didn’t realise it until I did it. The drawing is neater, more professional, and most importantly, easier to read. It sounds obvious but something I’d not given much thought to, I thought the content was more important than the layout, but the layout is SO IMPORTANT!!
Suddenly a matrix-like code fell in front of my eyes, all the square pegs fit into the square holes, everything made sense and my previously undiscovered love of graphic design revealed itself. I had been missing an extremely obvious and paramount point all this time – one which would shape my future as a designer, human being and perfectionist working amongst fellow perfectionists.
Attention to detail
Much like my ‘Be neat’ point but this extends outside of drawings and design. Since hanging out with architects, I now notice the slight gap between wallpaper sheets, the light switch which obviously wasn’t fitted with the use of a spirit level or the architrave that stops suddenly at the skirting board… I didn’t notice these things before, now I’m like hawk eye every time I go somewhere new.
I think having an eye for detail is something you naturally develop over time but if you show attention to detail from the offset, boy, those architect folk will love you!
You can never be too sure. Never leave anything up to chance. Your computer might crash and you could lose hours of good work, and no one will thank you for it. Just do a cheeky save now and again, it makes life easier!
Also, save drafts and ideas, you might think they’re rubbish, maybe never even use them again but they might be a good place to start if you’re having a mind blank or could be used as a helpful visual aid to start a discussion.
Save the whales too, naturally.
If you know where everything is, productivity goes up. I recently reorganised the graphics and marketing folders – rad I know! Afterwards I felt like I was in control of my destiny. Organisation is empowering
Keep your colleagues in the loop
Turns out architects have creative thought processes which go far beyond designing buildings. As resident graphic designer I often design new things and ask for my colleague’s opinions – They’re creative AND practical. It can make my job easier and if you keep them in the loop they’re bound to think of some ideas/solutions you’ve not thought of.
I can type bysinesssesimbath in my phone and it would ask me if I meant ‘businesses in Bath’. Gee thanks, that is what I meant. Due to my ‘let’s do everything as fast as possible’ nature, I rarely type things slow enough to spell them right. I rely on spellchecker because, actually, it uses less brain power to smash the keyboard and hope you’ve hit the right keys than to spend time pondering over how you spell antidisestablishmentarianism (Although, fun fact, I actually taught myself how to spell that when I was 8 to freak my parents out!) Believe it or not, I used to be quite good at spelling but it’s been so long since I took a spelling test I can freely admit I can’t spell without a little help from my friend spellchecker.
Oh and my point – yeah – architects CAN spell, so they know when you can’t!
If you don’t know – ask
Quite self-explanatory – don’t know where the stationery is? Forgotten how to use the curtain wall tool in Revit? Want someone to proof read your blog submission before you post it? (Thanks DM) Just ask! People like to help, even if it seems an obvious question – it’ll reinforce the knowledge of the person you’re asking
You don’t win friends with salad
Cake. Bring in cake when you’ve been on holiday, if it’s your birthday or your cat just got its annual vaccination…
There’s always an excuse for cake.
N.B Biscuits, sweets, chocolate and cheesecake also work!