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Jessica Shaw’s Guide to Designing Remotely

For most designers, in person site visits, meetings, and showroom stops are staples in their day-to-day design process. When access to those everyday necessities abruptly came to a halt, designers around the world had to adapt – quickly than they may have wanted – to leaving their studios and bringing spaces to life from afar.

In such a visual and tactile field, almost everything in a designer’s work flow and process changes; from their client communication to their sourcing spots. Since March, The Turett Collaborative’s Director of Interior Design, Jessica Shaw, has been designing spaces remotely from her home in Brooklyn. Now, three months into working from home, she’s sharing her pointers for fellow designers looking to optimize their current situations.


Tip #1

Find a project management software that works for you, your team and your clients. 

We find Basecamp to be a great platform for keeping projects organized, on both an individual and team level. Also great for sharing information selectively with clients.

Tip #2

Establish protocols for all of your file management, both individually and team wide. Of course this was always important in our office, but it is even more so now that we are all working from home. We have been using both a shared Google Drive as well as having remote access to our office server and Team Viewer for access to our office desktop computers.

Tip #3

Choose a platform that you feel comfortable with for your remote meetings (zoom, google meet, etc) and encourage the use of video meetings on a regular basis with your team.

Working remotely is an adjustment, and this is especially true for designers and architects who are used to daily interactions with their colleagues. Have zoom “catch up” calls at minimum every other day has kept the spirit of our teamwork alive.

Tip #4

For your Zoom calls with clients and other professional / work related calls, be thoughtful about how you present yourself (appearance) and your background (surroundings). People are paying attention to these details and you want to maintain your professional demeanor and continue to extend the culture of your office and appreciation for design.

(note #2 above: having a  great, dimmable desk lamp is key to controlling the lighting for your ZOOM calls)

Tip #5

Try online services like Material Bank for sourcing materials (and receiving them quickly!) Perk: we also love the little pack of branded M+Ms that they include with every order!

Tip #6

With your new client relationships, your dependability is under constant scrutiny. Own the near-term roadmap and stick to even the smallest deadlines. Get the client on your calendar. Send them new designs to review in advance of every meeting.

Tip #7

When emailing your work to a client, never just send it, always present your design and explain your thought process and reasons for making important decisions. Your clients will see that everything is there for a reason and have more of a connection with the design process. This will greatly minimize changes and will make you look like the professional that you are.


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