Student Portal News Letter Archive
For the Love of Design
Bimonthly Academic Newsletter
VOL 2. NO. 2 // MAR 2016

Gear Up for Finals with Advice from the Pros

We don’t know if you’ve checked your syllabus lately, but the due dates for your final projects are coming up fast. That’s why we asked professionals from around the world and across the design industry to share their tips for project management with you. And since this counts as “working” on your assignment, you’re definitely not procrastinating if you read this. It’s a win-win!

Torsten Hild, Interior Architect at 2Hild, Sweden

"Don’t ever dispose of an idea. Even if you can’t use it in the current project, there will most surely come other situations where you need it. It’s very easy to save sketches and ideas in your 3D model by saving them in different layers. You can then turn them on or off when you need to, or even export them to new projects and models. Don’t forget to give each layer an obvious name."

Torsten is an award-winning interior architect specializing in public institutions such as libraries, cultural centers, and exhibitions, as well as health, accessibility, and sustainability assessments.

Image of Torsten Hild courtesty of 2Hild
Image of Torsten Hild courtesy of 2Hild

Sean O’Skea, Professor of Scenic Design and Vectorworks at Southern Oregon University, USA

"Resist the temptation to get seduced by details before you have solved the big-picture. It’s easy to spend a lot of time on things like trim profiles or door hardware as a way to avoid tackling the big challenges of the overall design. Once you have found a design solution at the macro level, all those little details will likely change anyway, so you'll end up doing that work twice."

With over 80 scenic and lighting design credits to his name, Sean has been teaching entertainment design for nearly a decade and has over a quarter of a million views on his training tutorial videos on YouTube.

Paul Beaty-Pownall, Director at BPR Architects, UK

"Only ever read an email once. Make a list of the actions that come from the email and then file away the email. This saves a lot of time because it enables you to organize your actions in order of priority and prevents you from reading the whole email over and over again every time you want to find out what the email was about."

Paul is a director at BPR Architects, a London-based firm with a commitment to BIM and sustainability and over 40 years of experience delivering outstanding projects.

Benno Schmitz, Winner of the Vectorworks Design Scholarship, Germany

"The first thing you should do when starting a project is draft a schedule with important milestones. I roughly followed such a schedule with the project I sent in to the Vectorworks Design Scholarship to avoid running into a shortage of time when approaching the submission deadline."

Benno was recognized with a 2015 Vectorworks Design Scholarship and the grand-prize Richard Diehl Award for his project, The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn.

The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn
Schmitz's rendering of his winning project, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn.

Paulo Neves, Creative Director of P&G Cenografia, Brazil

"In the entertainment industry, the deadlines are very short, so the biggest obstacle to time management is making the right decisions in the time available. Incomplete information or a change of direction in the design can slow down an entire plan, so before starting any project, I decide what is essential for the project to succeed and, with the same importance, what is not. Chances are, I will not have time to do everything that I want to, so making the right choices from the start is critical to doing everything that I need to."

Paulo is the creative director at P&G Cenografia, a leading Brazilian entertainment firm that develops holistic set designs, which include everything from lighting and staging to architecture and landscaping.

Joakim Rydholm, Project Manager and Partner at Primetec, Sweden

"You can save a lot of time on each project by taking the time to learn about all of the integrated, entertainment-specific tools in Vectorworks Spotlight, such as the Seating Layout tool, the stage design tools, and the Blended Screen tool, not to mention the global symbol libraries with lights, speakers, and trusses, rather than designing from scratch."

Joakim’s firm, Primetec, combines creativity and technology to deliver turnkey solutions for events, exhibitions, and television productions.

Adele Ashkar, FASLA, Director of Landscape Design Programs at The George Washington University, USA

"Things can become pretty stressful as students face their end-of-semester studio project deadlines. Not only is a well thought out design project expected, but you also need a set of high-quality graphics and the ability to make a crisp, coherent verbal presentation. It's a big task! My advice is to get your ideas down as quickly and frequently as possible, and make sure to get your instructors' critiques of your project. Those one-on-one critiques at your desk can be super helpful; don't fret if you don't think you have enough work ready to show and discuss. Those moments when you feel you hit a dead end in your project are when a critique session is most useful to you."

Adele teaches non-traditional students about landscape design at The George Washington University and also works on pro bono sustainability projects in her local community.

Ashkar teaches landscape design students at The George Washington University.

Katarina Andersson, Retail Designer and Brand Developer at KA INTERIÖR, Sweden

"Being able to model my furniture designs for rendering purposes and then use the model to create construction documents all within one program makes my projects very time-effective. I make the furniture in 3D first, and then I can make a nice rendering to show the customer how the furniture looks. After that, I can easily make a construction drawing to get the furniture produced, all in Vectorworks. It’s a big improvement over making the 3D model in one program and then having to redraw the furniture in another program to make the construction drawing."

Katarina has over 20 years of experience closely collaborating with her customers to create goal-oriented retail development concepts.

Jonathan Reeves, Architect at jr architecture, UK

"While designing, avoid the distractions of email, Facebook, and Twitter, etc. They will prevent your creativity from flourishing and prevent you entering a 'flow state.' Also, start using Vectorworks as a BIM-authoring tool and really learn your keyboard shortcuts, which will speed up your design process dramatically. And finally, you can read my book, Innovative Vectorworks BIM, with 50 tips and tricks for using Vectorworks Architect."

Jonathan works with architects and designers across the United Kingdom to train them in the best use of their design software.

Have any time management tips of your own? Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter to help your fellow students as you all take on the end of the semester.