Outset Design

Outset Design

Outset Design

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tel: 08 8269 4144

34A Stepney Street
South Australia 5069

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Outset Blog

The Art of Listening

Listening to clients is fundamental to design and something that will make or break a project, writes Outset Design Principal, Kevin Nicolle.


As designers, it is critical that we listen to our clients. Modern design often overlooks the way people live. At Outset Design, we take pride in giving clients what they want in terms of functionality along with design.

Brilliant architectural ideas, strokes of design genius and larger than life modern construction methods are great. However, if they are not in line with the client’s own vision of the project, they are useless. And without clients there is no need for design at all. As a result, listening to a client carefully and understanding their wishes is a fundamental part of delivering a successful project.


Often clients contact us because they have been inspired by the work we do at Outset Design, whether they have seen it online, via social media, in magazines, or in real life. When it comes to their own individual project they want something unique and have their own ideas in mind.

By developing a relationship with people and understanding their motivations, inspirations and goals we are able deliver projects that often take simple ideas based on features of light, space and colour and develop them into highly personal pieces of design and ultimately construction.

From the first meeting, we will know what spaces the client wants (ie family, living, dining, ensuite), the orientation of the block and house, the council requirements and site constraints (ie a sloping block or trees). These are practical guides we will rely on to develop a concept. However, it is the personal information that we will utilise to build a truly bespoke result.

For example, questions to consider are:

  • What is your ultimate goal for this home?
  • What activities do you enjoy?
  • Do you intend to grow your family or perhaps your children are moving out in the near future?
  • Do you travel often?
  • Is cooking something you enjoy?

Listening to a client describe their lifestyle will make a fundamental difference in our ultimate designs. We ensure their project is a true reflection of what they want.


Designing is a juggling act and requires a degree of compromise as one feature often has a consequence on another. By listening to our clients we can ensure the correct compromises are made.

Often we revisit work we completed many years ago in order to finish off that ultimate vision or simply take one step closer to the end product by keeping the big picture in mind and going room by room.

Understanding what makes our clients tick has seen many Outset Design clients return to us time and time again. We would like to think this is in some-part due to the personal connections we have made with clients.

By Kevin Nicolle, Principal, Outset Design

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