The More You Know: The Design Process

The workplace solutions industry can be a complex one, which is why we’ve launched a new blog series called The More You Know. This series will go step by step through our furniture project process and give full insight into how we transform workspaces around the country. All projects are different – especially those in specialized industries like healthcare or education – but this is a good place to start to better understand what happens behind the scenes at RJE. Read below to see how our design process works and stay tuned for more!


What’s the first step in getting your project off the ground? Design! Our clients are in capable hands with our talented team of in-house designers. Here’s what you can expect for a standard corporate project:

Step One: Refine the Vision

Before diving into any technical work, our team will work hand-in-hand with the client to refine the design vision. We’ll ask questions like:

  • How should the space function for maximum productivity?
  • What’s your culture like? Does it lend itself to traditional design or more contemporary?
  • How can your design choices support employees, clients and guests?

During this stage, we narrow down what products will be used for any workstations, private offices or ancillary spaces. For the workstations, we aim to develop a single solution that accommodates client needs for storage, height adjustability, power and technology. Once that’s determined we can work to modify the system’s original layouts and amenities to cater to the client’s organization. After we tackle the systems component, we move to ancillary.

Throughout this entire step, we collaborate directly with the design firm partner to ensure that our solutions support their stunning architectural and design decisions. It’s a collaborative and creative process from start to finish.

Step Two: Finalize Layouts, Selections and Finishes

After we refine the vision, the next stop involves finalizing layouts, selections and finishes. At this point, our designers will develop typicals to show the designer and client.

We often work from biggest to smallest – nailing down workstations and private office layouts before moving to the smaller, collaborative ancillary spaces like huddle rooms, lobbies and cafes. We do this because workstations and private offices are much more systematic in nature and based on efficiency and functionality. Ancillary spaces broaden the scope to include new styles, fabrics and finishes. These are much more aesthetically driven, therefore it takes more time to finalize decisions.

This step is typically completed in two meetings:

  1. During the 1st meeting, we will review a variety of product options and finalize your furniture selections.
  2. During the 2nd meeting, we will determine the finishes for the selected product.

Step Three: Technical Design

After all the critical decisions are made, our designers get to work! Here are some of the steps they complete during the technical design process:

  • Develop specifications based on decided product
  • Send out COM (customer’s own material) fabrics to manufacturer to be approved for use
  • Build out any special products that deviate from manufacturer standards
  • Send project details to the RJE Operations team to start estimating installation costs

Once all of those steps are completed, we engage our Technical Specification Specialist to double-check specifications and reduce the possibility for error. From there, we send it back to the client for a final review.

If everything is approved, the project is then passed onto our Sales Coordinator for the next stage in the process – Order Placement!

So, is the design component finished?

Not so fast! Our designers will prepare the plans for our Operations and Installations team with notes so they know exactly what they’re working with onsite. Installation is often several months after the front-end design process, so our designers prepare the plans immediately after completing the design so it is accurate for our crew.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The More You Know to learn about the Order Placement Process.

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