If you can’t articulate your vision, it’s hard to tell others why it matters…What follows are a sampling of firms and companies who have something different to say, and say it well.

If you can’t articulate your vision, it’s hard to tell others why it matters.

Your ideas and how you make them happen are what make you different and more compatible with some clients than others.

Design is about relationships—the more you can communicate to your potential clients about your firm and its beliefs, the more comfortable they’ll feel at the outset.

But there’s no point in having a vision if you don’t live up to it. The best-chosen words are useless without evidence they’re true and the means to achieve the points still in the future.

If you aren’t gifted at language, work on your public message with someone who is. But be sure that relationship is a sound one. The consultant who helps you create your public identity should really know you well. And again, that comes down to being able to tell people what your values, strengths and style are; and why your people want to come to work every day. And that they know where they’re headed three to five years from now.

Undeniably, the Web has become one of the primary ways (beyond client word-of-mouth) people find and evaluate your services. You’d be surprised at the number of high-profile and national award-winning firms that have typos and misspellings on their web sites. If your Webmaster is not a language person, copy must be read by someone who knows grammar and how to write—before it goes up to the biggest circulation on the planet.

What follows are a sampling of firms and companies who have something different to say, and say it well.

engineering consultants

“Arup has a distinct culture and an enduring set of values that binds the firm together and is central to our vision. The leadership of the global Arup has developed a simple statement that encapsulates our aspirations and is expressed in a manner which can be interpreted from the standpoints of both clients and membership. We shape a better world …To enhance prosperity and the quality of life …To deliver real value …To have the freedom to be creative and to learn. Increasingly, we see ourselves as a provider of technical solutions; a design-oriented technology house; a professional consultancy that has the stature to exercise influence over those things we care most about. A fulfillment, perhaps, of the most liberal interpretation of the original dream … ”

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

“This is a time in which belief is often overwhelmed by exponential change. Even in the most serious architectural circles, intellectual games and superficial dogma can take the place of affirmation, and the mediocrity and deadness of much of our environment continue to spread.

Yet, in all of our surroundings there is great richness and power. Belief in the sensuality of place, the emotive qualities of materials, and the ability to give pleasure and insight, to comfort, and to transport, can produce humane and spirited architecture. It is our belief that exceptional architecture comes from the search for solutions which respond to the particular circumstances inherent in each situation.”

architecture, interiors, planning

“Buildings are made by people, in the largest sense of that word. This includes architects, builders, clients, consultants, occupants, neighbors, and communities. Anyone whose life is affected by a building has a stake in the making of it—at least that’s how we see it. Figuring out what these people want is the first big challenge of architecture. That’s why we creatively involve all those people up front. Not that we design by committee, but we need to know all the ways in which a building is going to affect people’s lives …we see architecture as one big, long collaboration. Our clients want to be involved, they want the process to be great, but they also want their buildings to be art that enriches and improves the daily lives of people. And maybe that’s not a bad definition of architecture.”

Planning, Design,
Construction, Real Estate

“Many companies seek projects. Beck’s objective is to seek long-term relationships with selected clients. This imparts the way we think, the way we are organized and the way we work . . . nothing builds support and trust faster than performance – doing what we say we will do . . . and only through working as a team can we achieve the high standards which our culture demands. Picture a delivery process that maximizes value. Early completion. No surprises. No conflict. Strong teamwork.”

Visual-Web Design/Research-analysis

“Alan Cooper is a man with a mission. Outraged by the inferior and unusable products that are constantly forced upon long-suffering software users, Alan decided to do something about the problem. He founded Cooper Interaction Design in 1992 with a clear mandate: to conceive and design interactive products that give power and pleasure to those who use them … We design clearly superior products and services that generate strong customer loyalty. Our solutions are both breakthrough and practical. Our services are devised to speed the delivery of these solutions into the hands of customers. We love a tough challenge, and excel at transforming even the most complex technologies into clear, accessible solutions that people love to use, from customer relationship management software, to medical devices, to system-control applications.”

Ellerbe Becket

“High Design, Construction Value, Certainty of Outcome; These are the benefits we have offered our clients for 94 years. With a global reach and expertise that ranges from planning to construction, we use the creativity, imagination, and knowledge of our entire firm to design singular buildings of the highest quality. And most important, we give our clients peace of mind that their project will be completed the way it was planned.”

Research, Design, Development

“At Fiori, our ultimate purpose is to design, develop and deliver products that connect to people. We accomplish this by going both further and deeper. We start by immersing ourselves in the worlds of real people, because the complexities of human emotions, behavior and desires can’t be found in focus groups or canned reports. This real-world understanding inspires design and fuels innovation.”

Fitch Worldwide
Multi-disciplinary design firm

“It’s a fusion of art with psychology and vision with technology. It leads to products that connect with people creating emotional bonds between brands and human beings. Bonds that translate into long-term customer loyalty, increasing your product’s market share today while growing your brand’s market share tomorrow.”

Foster & Partners

“Since its inception, more than 30 years ago, the studio headed by Norman Foster has been driven by the pursuit of quality—a belief that the quality of our surroundings directly influences the quality of our lives, whether in the work place, at home or the wide variety of public spaces in between. This emphasis on the social dimension is an acknowledgement that architecture is generated by the needs of people and these are spiritual as well as material.

But architecture is a public art and the quality of our urban design also affects our well-being. This concern for the physical context has produced projects where each one is sensitive to the culture and climate of its place. As an extension of that concern we have applied the same priorities to public infrastructure on a world-wide scale; through airports, railway stations, metros, bridges, communication towers, regional plans and city centers.”

Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck

“the idea. A central tenet evident in all the Firm’s work is the fervent belief in the power of an architectural “idea”. Once established, this idea is used as a framework for decision making from the project’s earliest conceptual stages to the refinement of its smallest details. It guides our efforts to clarify often very complex programs through the clear expression of fundamental architectural elements (space, light, circulation, etc.) and an unambiguous plan organization. Understanding circulation, how one moves to, through, into, past, or out of spaces, is repeatedly at the core of the architectural concepts for these projects. It weaves together often-simple architectural spaces that are, in turn, enhanced through rich experiences of detail, texture, materials, and light. The “idea” is the underlying armature for all these decisions.”

Multi-disciplinary design firm

“Ideo helps companies innovate. We design products, services, environments and digital experiences.

“Head in the sky …” IDEO’s teams, culture and methodology are the special ingredients that fuel our approach to innovation and design. We begin with a deep exploration of business, human and technical factors. Observe. Brainstorm. Prototype. Repeat.

Point of View. Essence. Heart. “…ness.” Whatever you call it, it’s there: a shared mind set, the place where the efforts of our problem-solving engine converge. Expressed in a visible and tangible way, it informs and inspires the design process.

“feet on the ground.” What’s a good idea worth if it can’t be realized? IDEO’s world-class designers and engineers ensure that the power of the vision is preserved in the journey from concept to final production.”
ed. note: Don’t miss the case study at: www.ideo.com/case_studies/gyrus/

Jones and Jones
Landscape Architecture, Architecture

“Some fish swim upstream and some fish swim downstream. Salmon go up to spawn and eels go down to spawn. You will see how an integrated practice of architecture and landscape architecture has evolved under the shifting influences shaping our business culture, seen through one firm. The two fish represent two kinds of reality. Architects and landscape architects, like other artists, are either earth-connected or market-connected. We believe that the transformations that have taken place in practices since the 1950s have favored the latter, so that the historic earth-connectedness in our profession has waned. We believe that real landscape architects and the best architects are earth-connected. They are the planters, the farmers, the explorers, the writers, who create new markets and shape style, and they root and re-root in the regions wherever they work. We observe that many landscape architects and most architects are market-connected. They are the consumers, the traders, the collectors, the readers who follow and inventory the style; and they don’t root, but bring modernism with them wherever they go. Well, it’s your choice: Salmon or Eels.”

Lake Flato

“Lake/Flato believes that architecture should respond to its particular place, enhance a site or neighborhood and be a natural partner with the environment. Our designs evolve from an appreciation of pragmatic solutions of vernacular architecture, the honesty of modernism and the context of our rich and varied landscape. Sustainability has always been a core in Lake/Flato’s approach. Our designs seek to conserve energy and natural resources while creating healthy built environments through which our clients may gain a deeper appreciation of and connection to the natural environment.”

architecture, interiors, planning

Curiosity, Passion, Rigor. These are words that NBBJ people use to describe what they have in common. A shared mindset … and that design has the power to transform. We believe “place can be a powerful catalyst for change. Cities. Communities. Organization. People’s lives. This belief is the medium in which strong ideas are developed, nurtured and realized.

The one thing you’ll quickly learn about us is that innovation and performance hold the top spot on our organization charts. Big Ideas that transform performance rule and they can come from anywhere in the firm or on the team with clients. We hold fast to the notion that innovation always happens in context. At NBBJ, that context takes many forms-a tight urban site, a limited budget, a complex group of stakeholders. This is the stuff that makes our hearts beat faster, our pulses race, and our minds soar.

N.C. State College of Design

“The College of Design has concerned itself from the beginning with preparing designers who, in the broadest sense, shape the world. The student experience here is unlike any other. Within the University itself, design students have access to all of the advantages of a large university including: diversity of students and subject matter; many clubs and activities; varsity sports; and a national reputation for excellence.” And later: “The College of Design admits students through a selective process that ensures a highly motivated and heterogeneous design community. The entering student body consistently ranks at the top academic achievement in the University, and its graduation rates are the highest in the institution.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff
Planning, engineering

“Looking ahead, program management is key to PB’s ongoing business development strategy. We aim to enhance the value of our services by moving beyond capital project delivery to “life cycle” program management, in which we over see a project from the earliest conceptual stages through construction and beyond.

We firmly belive that in order to prosper and grow in the third millennium, PB must be a global, diversified and multidisciplinary organization, able to assume virtually any role on any infrastruct project, large or small. Our record with respect to program management demonstrates that we are achieving that vision.”

Construction-related services

MISSION To develop, build and maintain the physical environment for living, working and traveling.

VISION To be the world leader— the client´s first choice—in construction-related services and project development.

CODE OF CONDUCTIt is Skanska´s key responsibility to develop and maintain an economically sound and prosperous business. Skanska as a business with a long history and future assumes its responsibilities. These include our responsibilities toward the countries, communities and environments in which we operate, toward our employees and business partners and toward society in general.”

Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Architecture and Design

“Our practice is premised on the belief that the public is entitled to buildings that do not, by their very being, threaten the aesthetic and cultural values of the buildings around them. We do not believe that any one style is appropriate to every building and every place. . . we do believe in the continuity of tradition and we strive in our work to create order out of the often chaotic present by entering into a dialog with the past and with the spirit of the place in which we build.”


“Good Design Brings People Together In an ever-changing world, the need for people to connect to and flourish in the spaces where they live, work and play is paramount. For more than three decades, TVS has designed spaces that uplift the human spirit.” Subheads include: “A Client-Centered Design Process; TVS: Experienced Collaborators; Our Work and Our People are Your Bottom Line”