What Makes a Great Architectural Designer?

You’re probably wondering how to find a great architectural designer. You’ve probably decided to build a custom home, but you don’t know how to rule out the less qualified professionals.

Google welcomes you with open arms to perform a search, but how do you know if the results actually do meet your requirements?

It’s a simple question with simple answers, but before you can understand those answers, you need some background information. You need to understand architectural designers and what they do. Then, you’ll be able to know how to spot a good one.Person drawing house plans with the right hand with a sharpie on construction paper.

Before you read the rest of this article, take a minute and check out our portfolio. Get an understanding of what a good architectural designer can do for you.

Check out some of our latest projects. Feel free and share them on social media, or leave comments and remarks. We want to know what you think.

Now, let’s get back to architectural designers.

What is an Architectural Designer

An architectural designer is someone who draws up floor plans for buildings. They are an architect in training because n architectural designer is often fulfilling an internship requirement in order to gain the necessary experience to take the test to become a licensed architect. They don’t need to be a licensed architect, however.

Blueprints for a home drawn by an architectural designer
This is an example of blueprints that could be drawn by an architectural designer. They look different nowadays with a lot more 3D options generally.

In more specific terms, an architectural designer draws up plans for buildings. The buildings can be any size or shape, but if they are larger than a single family home with more than 2 stories, then the plans will need to be stamped by an engineer or an architect.

In these modern times, architectural designers and architects alike use digital programs like Autocad, Revit and others to draw up house.

Though they use computers, architectural designers and architects are still artists and engineers. They are the intersection where creativity meets utility, and they are always trying to find the perfect ratio of form to feature.  

It’s a great career for all those little kids who played with Legos and then grew up.

Does a Great Architectural Designer Have To Go To School

Architectural designers do not have to go to school. They have to be proficient in drawing plans using basic programs like Autocad and Revit. Earning a degree in architecture certainly helps in acquiring these skills however, they are not necessary. It is rare to find a good architectural designer who has not had some form of formal education, however.

3D Rendering of a Kitchen Design done by the Architectural Designers at Higher Design Utah
This a more modern version of some of the designs that an Architectural designer can do. These were done by Higher Design Utah.


Luckily, architects do have to go to school. Because architectural designers are most often architects in training, they’ve undergone most of the training required to become an architect anyways.

To become an architect, one is required to obtain a formal degree, perform an internship under another architect and finally after that, obtain licensing through passing the ARE test, the national test for becoming a licensed architect.

If you are trying to figure out if your architectural designer is a good one, ask about their schooling. School may not be necessary, but it will affect their abilities and skills. Don’t risk it. Go with the best. Find someone who has a stellar track record and work to prove it.

How Much Experience is Needed to be a Great Architectural Designer

Architectural designers need as much experience as it takes to become proficient drawing up home plans. The more experience the better. You should look closely at any plans drawn up by an architectural designer who has not completed at least 1 to 2 years of training under a licensed architect. When in doubt, go with someone who has more experience, and not less.

You can tell someone’s experience by checking out their portfolio. Any good architectural designer has a very good portfolio. If you want an example of a good portfolio, check out ours at Higher Designs Utah.

What Can an Architectural Designer Do

An architectural designer can:

Sketch rendering of the front of a custom home.
With new softwares, designers can render your plans in many different formats to help you get the best idea of what it will actually look like.


  1. Draw up building plans as long as they are smaller than a 2 story, single family home.
  2. They can consult with customers to find out what they want or need in their buildings.
  3. They can submit plans to be stamped by an architect or engineer.
  4. They can start their own business drawing up house plans

What CAN’T an Architectural Designer Do


  1. Can’t stamp blueprints or building plans
  2. Can’t create plans for buildings larger than a 2 story, single family home, without the stamp of a licensed architect.
  3. Can’t call themselves an architect. The title has legal implications.

In your search to find a great architectural designer, you’ll probably see all this. Architectural designers will probably cost less, however, you get less legal protection. Choose what you want very carefully.

8 Questions to Identify a Great Architectural Designer

Now that you understand what an architectural designer does, you need to find a good one. The best way is by word of mouth, but when you finally meet one face to face, you’ll need a way to gauge their competency. Here are some questions to ask your architectural designer to assess whether they are good at what they do:

  1. Ask to see their portfolio
  2. Ask about their experience
  3. Ask to speak with the Architect with which they interned
  4. Ask about their education
  5. Ask about their most recent job
  6. Ask to visit any of their projects that have been built
  7. Ask to speak with previous customers
  8. Go with your gut

    Blueprint portfolio of an architectural designer
    A good architectural designer has an excellent portfolio.

These questions should rule out the unqualified and help you move toward the people who you’ll want to work with. It’ll probably feel a little awkward when you first ask these questions, but after you find the perfect architectural designer for you, you’ll be grateful you asked these questions anyways.

Finding a Great Architectural Designer in Utah

Utah has so many great options for great architectural designers. Luckily there are great ways to find them. Here is a small list of quick ways to generate a quick list of possible candidates. Remember, ask the important questions to gauge how qualified your candidates are. You have the great power to control the situation. You get to choose which candidate you work with. Here are the resources:

  1. Google Search
  2. Yelp
  3. Thumbtack
  4. Angie’s List
  5. Houzz
  6. DexKnows
  7. Craigslist
  8. KSL.com

Those are just a few resources to find great architectural designers. Go crazy. You’ll have more than enough options so you should have no excuse to find the very best in the business.

Architecture look at blueprints
Keep looking until you find the perfect architectural designer.


With these tips, questions, and facts you can now go find the perfect architectural designer for what you need. Make sure you ask the right questions, and make sure you see their portfolio. Come check out our portfolio and tell us which design you like the most right now. It’ll give you an idea for what a good portfolio looks like and you might find just what you are looking for.

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