How CAD Designers influence trends and styles
BY MIKE LAWLOR
As a retail store front CAD designer, I hear from many different clients every day, each one suggesting what they envision to be their unique, custom ring. What do I see when I have these consultations? A lot of the same Pinterest posts, highly popular ring images from the web, or rings that might be extremely similar to what is in my showcase. With help from the internet and social media, it’s extremely easy for customers to see an endless variety of different styles very quickly and form their opinion about what they like. As designers, we end up with requests for designs very similar to idea “A” or a variation of style “B”. So, what is our responsibility when it comes to design and pushing forward with new ideas while delivering what the customer is looking for? The answer is quite simple: hear your customer out. Deliver a design that has the elements of what they are looking for, then add flavour, depth, and your personal style to each piece. Most importantly, push the design to the next level to make the customer happy and your piece unique and special.
Changing designs may be challenging, as some customers come in with an extremely specific vision and any variation from it would be deemed as not what they are looking for. That being said, most custom design customers we see in the retail space have a general idea of what they are looking for, but look to you to be the decision maker on what design elements to incorporate, or how to lay something out in the best way. In these scenarios, instead of taking the easy way out and just designing the basic ring the customer may have mentioned, elevate the design and incorporate additional elements to take the piece to the next level. You owe it not only your client, but to yourself to challenge your specialty in order to improve your skills.
ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY
When we look at designs, the biggest complaint I hear from jewellers and designers is that they are bored of making the same pieces over and over. In some cases, when trying to put together a collection of design ideas in one sitting, it’s easy for designs to blend together as similar, often tossing away tough, creative thinking. Two of our country’s finest designers, Noam Carver and Shelley Purdy from Shelley Purdy Design Studio, offer tips that I consider to be invaluable to designers. “You can’t ever stop thinking about design. You have to be evaluating and looking at ideas, constantly thinking about how you can evolve them and how you can make them better,” says explains Noam. By constantly working on new ideas and adaptions, Noam has been able to not only win multiple design awards, but has also developed an extremely successful bridal line.
For Shelly, a great way to avoid repeating a design is by adding her own personal touch to each piece. “When creating a new collection,” says Shelly, “I draw inspiration from many sources. Having an original idea and style is critical to a designer if they hope to be more than a jeweller who copies trends. What most people love is to see something completely new and original, yet has a familiarity that pulls them toward the purchase. Once this is established, a designer can move into their own direction with a unique style they can brand as their own.” Incorporating the familiar elements that a customer shows you is crucial, however what you do with those elements is what makes a piece extraordinary. In this way, each piece differs from the next.
Now, I challenge you all to look online and browse through social media, not to copy existing designs but rather to be inspired by them! There are so many new styles and qualities that are breaking the mould of traditional designs. Your job as a CAD designer is to push the boundaries and try new things. Most importantly, don’t let yourself fall in that rut of doing the same, easy designs day in day out. Try out new technologies, and add that personal touch into your pieces to make them new.
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