Microsoft has a nice history lately of highlighting various innovative business uses of its Surface line of Windows 10 2-in-1s. Often, given how well Surface works for creative types, Microsoft profiles professionals who work in design and architecture, and their most recent piece keeps the trend alive.
This time around, Microsoft took some time to focus on the founder of DuChene Design Solutions, LLC, an independent design consultancy company that provides design work for landscape and design firms. As Microsoft puts it:
Patrick is all about productivity, efficiency and technology, which are key to making his business run. He enjoys flexibility, and says Surface is “awesome because I am able to move around the house to work where I feel like working, take it to the clubhouse where I live and have a drink and do some emails or write a speech, take it outside to my backyard and watch the boats come into the dock, and then manage my business at night by downloading files sent to me by clients and organizing them into my design schedule.” When I asked him what else he loves about the Surface Pro 4, he responded: “The screen, the screen, the screen! It is beautiful – the whites are so great, not bluish or yellowish like other laptops.”
Patrick uses a number of industry-specific and creative applications that work well on his Surface Pro 4, such as DynaSCAPE Design and Color, Lumion, SketchUp, and Shaderlight. For his business-oriented productivity, he uses Office:
“I can do my design base sheets, sketch on those base sheets for concepts for my clients or for myself, bring those sketches back into my software, finish the drawings, color the drawings, model the drawings and render the drawings ALL WITH ONE COMPUTER—not jumping back and forth from one system to the other.”
Patrick is clearly excited about using one machine to accomplish so many things, which the Surface Pro 4 is uniquely positioned to enable. He offers more advice to designers who might want to make a jump to a Surface device:
- Create a base sheet for the property you are designing and take measurements and make notes on your Surface in the field with the Surface Pen. This will help expedite the design process later on and will help you capture that “feeling” you get in the space.
- Use Drawboard PDF or Microsoft Paint – both of which come free and installed on the Surface – to do labeled concept sketches that you can easily email to a client for feedback. Collaborating with your clients electronically during the design process makes them feel attended to and can make the whole process more enjoyable and effective.
- Make sure you purchase the right Surface configuration for your needs, as there are many hardware configuration options for different users and uses. If you are doing more intense tasks like 3D modeling or a lot of multitasking with design programs, I’d recommend you spring for the i7 with 16GB of RAM like I did. It will be plenty of power for almost anything you throw at it!
We concur with Patrick that the Surface Pro 4 is a well-rounded and capable device, and we too recommend it for anyone who needs to mix business tasks with creative design. Let us know in the comments if you, too, agree.