While most designers have at one point or another asked their
clients to “sign on the dotted line,” they may also find it useful
to develop ways to create their own “design signature.”
So says Susan Serra, CKD, president of Northport, NY-based Susan
Serra Associates, who led the “Leaving Your Mark: Developing a
Unique Design ‘Signature'” seminar at last month’s Kitchen &
Bath Design & Remodeling Expo at the Valley Forge Convention
Center in King of Prussia, PA.
According to Serra, not only will finding your own niche help
you to create more effective designs, but it will also quickly
build a strong referral base and lead to greater profits.
“The value of creating your own design signature is it makes the
client feel good about their kitchen, and people will talk to their
friend’s and family about you and the project,” she exclaims.
To that end, Serra says that designers have both tangible and
intangible marks at their disposal to help them better build their
For instance, designers can get their work published, gain a
reputation for specific design elements or simply be known for
great enthusiasm and a willingness to try new ideas.
“Ideas that cause fundamental changes are very powerful,” she
says, adding that strong ideas and enthusiasm breed trust, loyalty,
confidence and respect.
But, she warns, it’s crucial to reassure the client that, as the
designer, you would always be willing to go back to the original
plan, if needed. This will inspire confidence so that the client
feels comfortable having you blend new ideas with more traditional
ones, helping you to develop a unique design style.
Serra also suggests the importance of explaining to clients how
their project stands out from others. After all, most clients crave
a “designer original,” Serra believes. Therefore, it is vital to
cite concrete reasons for how it is unique, whether it is unusual
textured countertops or out-of-the-ordinary moldings.
“When you can leave your design signature with the client, it
will help build client loyalty, increased referrals and a positive
local reputation,” she concludes.