As soon as we finish a project, our immediate goal is to photograph it. We spend hours capturing and editing the photos to reveal our design intent. When the photos are ready, we typically show them off on our website and social media in the hopes that others like them too. But we're not just interested in our own photos, we also look for photos that people take of our projects on their own. These photos are typically very honest and show how people really feel about our work. We find them on sites like Instagram and TripAdvisor and follow people's comments to see what worked and what didn’t. The good news is that the feedback is usually positive. Occasionally, we get the ultimate compliment – "How do I make my house look this cool?"
Reading those words lets us know that we got it right. It’s not just that people like our design – they want to live in the design; they want to bring it home and invite people to come over so they can show it to them. Whenever someone writes those words, they are saying that our design has connected with them. Isn’t that the goal of design: to connect with your audience? As designers, we should always be trying to connect with people in ways that are unexpected and elegant. Although it’s a skill that must be developed, it has to start with curiosity. You've got to be willing to try different things and see what happens. People pay attention to things that are out of the ordinary. In most cases, this is something a designer can consciously incorporate into a project. That’s really all there is to it.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always wallpaper and prayer.