Five Keys to Designing for Developers
By Brian West President, LifeStyling | September 02, 2010
Developers are a remarkably fantastic breed of dream weavers and fantasy-makers. For example, Walt Disney was a man with a grand desire to create a place in which children of all ages could lose themselves in the splendor of their imagination. Like Walt Disney, hospitality real estate developers, desire to build a greater, more dynamic, and pleasurable environments.
Since there are significant initial investment requirements, hospitality real estate developments are financed by leveraging large amounts of debt. A project will be profitable if the upfront commitment of cash is kept to a minimum and the project can generate a positive cash flow significant enough to cover the debt.
As a developer, real estate is, by its nature, an expensive non-liquid asset. It costs a lot of money to own it, and it can be difficult to sell. In development activity, there are also added costs of improvements (typically called "hard costs") and included are the fees of various consultants necessary to get the development work done (typically called "soft costs"), but with more than three trillion dollars annually feeding the global hospitality industry there remains considerable motivation for developers to continue to build.
As a designer I am challenged daily with a multitude of new global projects, and though each project varies significantly in it's scope, - the five considerations highlighted below continue serve as guides in the design execution process.
1. Integrity (actions based on internally consistent principles)
Designers tend to be mysterious individuals. We are often compared to the Cobbler who's children have no shoes, meaning that though we are able to complete design for someone else, we are often reprehensible when it comes to designing for ourselves. Much of this problem I believe may be attributed in part by a desire to have that, which is sometimes beyond financial reach. Another hindrance to the personal design process may be accredited to the endless stacks of design publications, which provide never-ending design inspiration or options. As designers this problem is not so much design indecision as much as it is what I prefer to call "high design integrity," An appreciation for great design and willingness not settle for second best.