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BERMAN BLUEPRINTS: Joel Berman Interview

Joel Berman is a licensed architect, sketcher, and the principal at Berman Design.

In this interview we cover the details of Joel Berman and his companies process and the direction of Berman Design for the future.

Be sure to watch the 7 minute interview and find out what makes Berman Design the firm to work with.

BERMAN BLUEPRINTS is a video interview series with Berman Design's strategic partners and clients.


Joel Berman: My name is Joel Berman, the founder of Berman Design. We are architects, designers, and branding experts. This is “Berman Blueprints.” It's a series of interviews with our strategic partners, our clients and other people who are very impactful on the community. And this series is important because if you own a small business and you need support and you need to understand what resources are available. These are the people that you should know.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: Thank you so much. Why don't we get started? I'm very excited to interview you. My name is Basam. Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez with Berman Design here today with our very own Joel Berman. How are you doing? And could you give us a little intro?

Joel Berman: Hi Basam. I'm doing just fine. So I'm Joel Berman. I'm an architect. I'm licensed in multiple states. Our focus is on adaptive reuse, so that's taking existing buildings and giving them new life and new function. We do restaurant and commercial kitchen design. We have restaurants that we've designed all over the country. We design franchise system retail prototypes, so that's the prototype from which multi-unit businesses are designed from. It allows buildings and spaces to be designed and built, much faster and more efficiently, and more consistently with the same level of quality everywhere.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: Nice! Very impressive, very cool. And so then what would you say? Sets you apart from other architects.

Joel Berman: We listen. We're friends with our clients and we really draw them out. And the other thing is we have deep process. So you can actually see what your space will look like well before it's built, we'll show you options and rendered 3D and even before then we'll show you options in hand drawn 3d when we're trying to really understand your story and the basics of the design And we use whatever tool is appropriate at whatever level. If it's hand drawing, if it's scanning the building and accurately recreating it and having new designs and three dimensions with everything flushed out. There's different tools for different processes and we use the best of all tools no matter if they are digital or manual.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: Absolutely, absolutely, that's awesome. And then, could you tell me about your firm's office environment?

Joel Berman: So, we have a physical office in Chicago. But most people work remotely. So every morning at 8 o'clock central, we all get together on the same call and we just very quickly go through what we did the day before what we're doing today and what types of labor issues are there? We also every third Friday or so just get together for an hour. And play games because we need to socialize, we need to build rapport, and build community. But we're all friends, we all know each other and we're on video constantly. and we physically meet up over time also.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: And so, then, can you also tell me what advice do you have for small business owners and franchisors as you work with them quite often?

Joel Berman: I would say be really careful that you work with others, that understand who you are and that save you time and that our experts, and outsource the things that you don't have time for. And find people to work with that you trust.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: And so then what are Berman designs plans for the future?

Joel Berman: That's a good question. I think our plans for the future are to continue to expand and help businesses across the country to help design more franchise system prototypes so to actually help franchisors realize a larger vision to simplify the process and to expand but to do it with many more brands. It's also to have fun and to enjoy. All of the people that we work with it's to make connections and help people be successful and in a great mind frame.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: That's amazing. Thank you so much. And so, then, Some people would say that you are what they call a “river rat.” Could you explain what that means?

Joel Berman: I could. So it's a river rat. So my wife and I live on the Chicago River. I kayak incessantly. I row Crew. I Dragon Boat Race. And also, I draw. So, I freehand sketch while I'm on the river from different vantage points. Sometimes from a kayak, sometimes, from shore. And I like to document the river. On Sundays everything is about the river.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: Awesome! And I've heard that not only do you draw on the river, but you draw in airplanes. Can you tell me about that?

Joel Berman: I do! So I'm a frequent flier and during the pandemic flying was stressful and people were unhappy. So, I just started pulling up my sketchbook and I thought, if I draw, I will be happy. And so wherever I sit on the plane, I always draw the view, it helps me understand perspective better. And it's always a challenge and it's something to look forward to.

Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez: That's really cool. That's awesome. Thank you so much Mr. Joel Berman for being here with me today. It was a pleasure having you

Joel Berman: Thank you, Basam.


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