Post 12 -by Gautam Shah


Deliverables from Design Organization : A Design organization delivers a product, formulates a concept or renders a service. Commercially these Deliverables take the form of products, projects, reports, plan of actions, advisory, solution, job, assignment, order, commission, etc. Organizations prefer activities, which provide a Direct gain, followed by those accruing some Indirect advantage, and all other work must be avoided.


Deliverables for Whom? : Design organizations deliver an entity to a client, who is external and compensates for it. Design organizations serve an entity to an internal person, department, or an external agency, which was deliberately (planned) created, but for which no definite compensation may be available. Design organizations allow entities to proliferate within the organization (including the sites or at clients’ places) which when properly monitored and exploited improve the efficiency of the organization, its image in the market and core-competence in the field. Such entities could be in the form of products, procedures, styles, judgements, confirmation, rejections, or assurance that every thing operates at desired or predefined level.

Design office deliverables > Pexels image source:

Deliverables and Evaluation of Gains : Organizations audit their work periodically, to see if an activity is providing a gain or advantage, or is neutral. Organizations have a formal or informal setup to continuously evolve their domain of actions. Where for any reason this cannot be carried out impartially, external experts, advisors, evaluators, or auditors are called in. The evaluation results in recognition of deliverables, categories, types of clients or beneficiaries (paying now, rendering an indirect advantage, non paying, or neutral).

Trucks designed by Luigi Colani > Wikipedia image

Deliverables, Evaluation and Reorganization : Clients are forced or encouraged to move to other categories with assurance of linked advantages (e.g. legal ownership, guarantees or warrantees) and satisfaction (service and operational support). An audit of activities identifies departments with high public exposure (that offer too many freebies). These are reorganized by moving them to the internal zones or as separate entities. Client definition helps the organization to identify internal departments, their inter-dependency and external bearings.

Freebies offering for Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos > Wikipedia image by Olaf Tausch

Deliverables, Evaluation and Reorganization (contd.) : Departments when realize the true value, decide whether to source their needs from within the organization, or out-source them on the basis of a cost-benefit ratio. Internal users of organizations, show an irresponsible tendency to in-source their demands. An internal audit can help tag such transactions. This ultimately helps in determination and recovery of the realistic costs. In design organizations technical talents like drafts-persons, model makers, site supervisors, messengers, etc. form a common pool, which is sourced by different project teams, but at a cost to be accounted for. In manufacturing units the use of a plant, equipment, tool and human resources are accounted into the component or project.

Frequent evaluations of Deliverables are necessary for productivity > Wikipedia image by Klean Denmark

Examples of Reorganization of Deliverables : Designers charge payable-extra fees for drawing documents, site visits and other consultants’ costs, and not include in the basic design fee. Doctors charge consulting and surgical fees, but charges for an operation theatre and medicines are payable-extra. Manufacturers often charge extra for delivery, site installation, test-run and the warrantee. These all are attempts to classify the costs as the compulsorily payable and negotiable. A professional may provide a free counselling to a friend, but charges for the services rendered and goods delivered. TV and car manufacturers provide a cost-less guarantee or extended warrantee for their products to achieve brand faithfulness. Doctors and other estate developers etc. often provide free advice, ideas, consultancy etc. to know a client, but soon enough, the client becomes a recipient of charged product or service.

Design Deliverable > Renault twin turbo engine > Wikipedia image by Thesupermat

Examples of Reorganization of Deliverables (contd.) : Production organizations do not offer direct deliveries, but prefer independent sales agencies. Professionals offer their services through project consultants or such intermediaries. There are many architects and interior designers who work on exclusive basis with builders, estate developers, etc. Service agencies may not take individual jobs but prefer to work for clients as retained agents.

Moxie Sozo, Boulder, Colorado – based design agency > Wikipedia image by Moxie Sozo

Types of Clients for Designers : The client for a designer may be a person, business or governmental organizations or a group of users or beneficiaries. A client can have an assignment which is first time endeavour with a possibility of continuing as a venture, or a sure-footed enterprise. A client has Four types of advantages: Estate (space), Money (or other investable things), Idea, or Experience.


Who is a Client? : A client is one who needs services of an expert to solve a specific problem. A client, may or may not be aware of someone else’s extra ordinary proficiency, and so assign someone to search the ‘expert’. In few instances, it is the expert who makes the ‘client’ realize ‘what the problem is and how it can be solved’? Clients would like to deal with a person, who is competent and but shows a predictable and socially acceptable behaviour. Clients realize that to secure services of an expert one must pay out compensation or a consideration.

Clients’ Disabilities : Clients’ disabilities are on several counts. 1 Entities are not always simple, easily selectable, readily available or producible. 2 Do not have a personal capacity to judge the appropriateness of decisions. 3 Are not fully aware of the needs, problems. Clients are not aware of the type and degree of skills required. 4 Clients are not either resourceful or incapacitated for taking decisions and actions by any extraneous cause.


How-why do Clients retain or hire Designers? : Sometimes, a client, who wishes to hire services of a professional, has no competence of checking the suitability of a professional for a particular job. Therefore, he may hire an intermediary capable of finding and appointing a suitable professional for the job. The job of an intermediary agent in this case is like that of any other competent and socially acceptable person, the professional.

Professionals are hired by clients, who may themselves be professionals of different skills, both ultimately serving a real client. Primarily, there is the classic relationship of a client to a professional and secondarily the relationship is professional (now a client) to professional/s.

Professionals also serve the role of a client when  retained by other professionals >  Wikipedia image by Smallworldsocial > Permission for reusing this file >

Types of Clients : Individuals : At simplest level the client is representing own-self, or perhaps the family. A professional is generally in a position to define the identity of an individual client. Such a client is very real and visible in personality and is interactive, i.e. one can get certain amount of feedback during the job.

Walt Disney discussing Disneyland plans to Orange Country officials in 1954 > Flickr image by Orange Country Archives

Types of Clients : Specific Group of Persons : A specific group of persons, who have formed the group on their own initiative or have become members of a suitable existing group. Clients representing a specific group are partnership firms, private or limited companies, corporations, societies, associations, and in many instances government departments and semi-government organizations. When there is a specific group as a client, its leader or the representative behaves like a real and visible client. It is not very difficult for a professional to generalize and determine the characteristics of a specific group client.

Marjah elders schedule regular meetings, offer bridge to community
Afghan elders meet in Shura in Marjah > Flickr image by ResoluteSupportMedia

Types of Clients : General or Non-specific Group of People : General or non-specific groups of people are stakeholders or beneficiaries, classified per some norms and supposedly represented by public organizations or the government. These are set of people who may not be aware, of their being a party to a group. Person/s who represent such generalized or non-specific group, functions as a client with or without their mandate. For such groups, the real user is invisible and sometimes unreal, and direct design feedback is unavailable. The designer may need to overwork to identity the ‘client’.

Other ways of categorizing Clients : Assigning Client is person assigning the job (eg. government official) but not likely to use the entity created or derive any benefit. Often an active citizen may generate a debate in the society for an issue and ultimately provide sufficient leadership input, so to become defacto conceiver and executioner of the project. In complex projects, there may not be a single or identifiable personality acting the role of a client. Non clients or multi clients have little interest in the project, except marketability and adequate financial return. Marketing or other specialists as clients form a design brief.

Dealing with different types of Clients : Clients are easy to deal, if they are real, singular, grouped and well organized. They are not very difficult to handle even when are invisible or generalized, but are well defined. Design process moves very fast and efficiently, when clients’ feedback is certain and predictable. Design out-put for organized and well-defined clients, are likely to be very relevant, and survives or operates better. Variety of problems can occur with clients. In case of an individual as a client, only personal whims can cause a problem. In case of a specific client representing a formal or informally constituted group, the relations and position vis a vis, the group may not remain constant. With group clients or committees all decisions and actions are necessarily formal, and so there are inherent delays, but job commitment is not a major problem.



Published by

Gautam Shah

Former adjunct faculty, Faculty of Design CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Consultant Designer


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