Creating the Perfect Design Process

Having a process is essential to successfully completing projects, and design is no exception. They are crucial because there are tried and true steps that ensure a thorough understanding of the objective, a thoughtful approach, and an effective execution. This means lower risk for a client and more trust in your solutions because there are research and facts to back up your design decisions. Here are the steps I use in my design process fro client objective to delivery.

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Step 1. Define

Like almost anything else in life, it is good to have a clear understanding of a problem before you attempt to solve it. Having a plan for approaching an issue ensures the path to the solution is as streamlined as it can be, which saves you time and brain power. For a designer, this usually means meeting with the client and communicating clearly about what the project is supposed to accomplish.

Step 2. Research

This step involves identifying your audience, benchmarking, and any additional research the project requires. This is particularly important if the project is marketing related because, in order for it to be successful, you need to know who you are marketing to so that you can create the most relevant and effective message. And you need to know what similar, pre-existing content looks like, and how successful it is, to make sure yours stands out. Some projects require additional research, and the more information you have, the more effective your project will be.

 

You should maintain open communication with your client during this stage of the process and be open to their thoughts and adjustments, but defend and explain your design choices when necessary.
— Haley, Art Director at Ritual Rebellion

Step 3. Sketch

Here is where visions and words come together into reality through good old visual brainstorming. The best way to kick off this phase of the process is with thumbnail sketches. These are small quick drawings that show many different solutions. At the beginning of a project, you should try to generate as many different ideas as you can so that when you begin to refine those ideas, you have several viable options. As you refine these sketches, work with the client to make sure your visions align. Another helpful tool in this stage of the process is to create a "mood board" to show the visual language.

Step 4. Design

This step is where the magic happens. You have all the information you need at this point and you have an end goal. Now it is time to take the sketches and polish them up into a fully designed project. 

Step 5. Review

Here is where visions and words come together into reality through good old visual brainstorming. The best way to kick off this phase of the process is with thumbnail sketches. These are small quick drawings that show many different solutions. At the beginning of a project, you should try to generate as many different ideas as you can so that when you begin to refine those ideas, you have several viable options. As you refine these sketches, work with the client to make sure your visions align. Another helpful tool in this stage of the process is to create a "mood board" to show the visual language.

Step 6. Refine

Take all of the feedback you receive and decide what changes need to be made to the project to achieve your goals. This stage may be repeated several times depending on what changes need to be made and the feedback you receive. As a designer, it's important to articulate the projects design limits. You always want them to end up thrilled with the final but keeping them on track ensuring thoughtful edits are made in a timely manner.

Stay tuned for more design basics,

Haley