Design means different things to many people who utilize it. A process to design is something that evolves with the artist over time. Personally, my process has altered a lot in the years I have been in school. Below are the steps that I follow to create a design that delivers the best outcome.
The first step is to understand what the problem could be. Ask yourself questions on how people feel right now with what is offered presently in a situation. The whole point of design is to empathize with your audience. Taking a human-centered approach where you look at how those involved are being affected will aid in understanding the issue and why a design outcome is necessary.
Research is the next critical step. Keeping your users in mind, start looking for previous studies that can help you comprehend what might be needed. The internet is a valuable resource but gathering your own answers would be even better. Create surveys to send out or have a focus group come in that way you can interact with them on a personal level. When you present your findings to a client or audience, having research that backs up what your hypothesis is saying is invaluable to you.
Analyze and Ideate
Next, take the information that you have gathered, look through it and begin grouping the research. By putting information together, you are better able to see patterns. After, start to ideate or sketch out as many possible solutions as you can. Don’t hinder yourself with thinking something could be ridiculous. Sometimes, it’s the crazy, far-out ideas that lead us to the best outcomes.
Diverging is where you narrow down on which ideas are the best. Usually asking your colleagues around you can help a lot with getting a second or third opinion. Or you can develop a second round of research from your focus group of people to see how they react to your ideas. The best rule is to see which ideas answer the question that you developed in the beginning or fulfill your hypothesis. It can be difficult to condense to just a few ideas, but if you go to the next step with too many, it will confuse your audience. So, choose around 5 to 8 solutions you want, that way there’s variety.
Take all the research you have, the question and hypothesis you formulated and the ideas you came up with to present to your client. This part is vital to see what the client likes and dislikes. Don’t get too caught up on one design, try to advocate for the ones you like best, yet don’t allow yourself to get attached. After the initial presentation, there will still be time to improve the ideas that they liked the most.
Once you know what the client or your audience prefers, take that with you into the next step. Refine the idea that you have and add details to figure out what else needs to be done. You can even do more research if you have to. Remember, the design process is about the users. The more information you have about them, the better the design will be for them.
After finally choosing which design produces the best outcome, start prototyping and testing it out. That could be creating mockups with the branding solutions on them or an actual mockup of a product. Demonstrate how you got to the outcome – show your clients why it works and how it will fulfill the need. You can find a similar, but different approach here.
If you need help in the process, Burkhart is here for you to figure out what might need to come next! Head on over to our site today for any design advice you may need.