Lighting Design Shortcut: Our Key Questions to Get Ahead.

We are all busy people and so often there is just not enough time. Not enough time to fulfill that list which looked so achievable at the beginning of the day. … “so where did that day go!?”

As designers when time is short we can so often run to the safe ground of familiar territory but I challenge you that this well worn path leads only to the Land of Mediocrity (not a real place but worth capital letters).

Now, the danger of mediocre is that part of it is actually acceptable – small parts even good and we’re stacked with many good reasons to justify avoiding risky new pastures that may only lead to project failure.

Reasons Why Designers Duplicate Familiar Designs:

But the other part of mediocre isn’t so good, regardless. The hard won reputation of our work being better than it needs to be, is why most of us keep our jobs. Because you care.

You care enough to build in fail safe systems for when the pressure mounts, to fall back on a method that will deliver your best even when you’re up against it.

We want to equip you with tried and tested, fast methods of making lighting design decisions. 

Where to Start with Your Lighting Design

Important prospective client conversations are the gateways to new relationships and projects but without definition they can get out of control. They can become a liability as time will race by without the guarantee of payback. As interested as you are, you need to home into key questions to create a successful succinct dialogue.

So it’s important to follow a loose checklist to ensure your meeting is productive.

Let’s say this is for kitchen lighting – throughout the conversation I am filtering information to answer 3 key questions:

Q: What is their worldview of good design? 

This conversation is defining whether you are entering as designer who will be paid for the lighting scheme or simply a selector of product.
Ask what types of lighting do they like, have they considered lighting as a key element before?
Are they interested in pushing the interior solution to include built in lighting?
Do they want to control the lighting to sculpt the atmosphere for different times of day. An enthusiastic reply about getting the mood right is a key reply.

Q: Where do they need us most?

Lighting design can be easy, anyone can choose a downlight and line them up. We are here to find the edge and show that we are worth including.
Are there architectural features we can use or are making the space tricky to light?
Downlight selection – choosing the best product.
Help them understand that good lighting is to not over light a space.
Emphasise the importance of avoiding glare.

Q: How can we create the best value and therefore a happy client?

Their definition of success shows us where the value for them is.
Take the client on a journey to understanding what good lighting is and how a good scheme’s value to them will probably cost more than they initially thought!
A well designed lighting scheme will iron out technical details prior to installation and reduce pitfalls and unnecessary extra expense.

Lighting Design Key Questions to Ask

Understanding the project thoroughly is important even before quoting for any design work:

Successful Outcome for the Client:
Feels valued, listened to and excited by your ideas.

Successful Outcome for you:
Quickly collate poignant lighting questions that will be useful to them but importantly foster trust in you and enable you to deliver a key design idea that they are excited about.

Andrew Orange, the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.