The Design Process
The design brief is critically important. If this is not well thought out
and agreed between designer and client, then the target is not set and the
project will not be successful. It is imperative that all parties
know exactly what design problem needs to be solved. Where would we
be without our briefs?
The design problem consists of what message, whom it is from and
whom it is aimed at. Then a decision could be made as to which medium is
the most suitable to utilise.
It is important for the designer to have as much background information as
possible. Depending on the particular project, research could be conducted
by the designer, the client, or market research companies on behalf of
either. Either quantitative or qualitative research would not only give an
insight to the background, but also to the route forward. Specific design
research may be in the form of collecting useable images and/or text from
Design Stage 1
Brainstorming sessions and the use of lateral thinking (Edward de
Bono) would help the designer to produce various ideas. From these and
depending on what was being designed, it would be decided how many ideas
would be turned into an initial design presentation. Ideas produced at
this stage would be presented to the client as working visuals, not
finished designs. From decisions made at this presentation, a route
forward would be decided upon.
Design Stage 2
A new brief, extrapolated from the first stage presentation, would now
enable the designer to continue to a final presentation. It may be
relevant to the design, to commission the services of illustrators,
photographers or copywriters during this stage. Particularly with
identities (brand or corporate), it is often the case that a design would
warrant additional work experimenting with minor variations (this may be
colour schemes or typography). Our aim would be to bring a chosen design
or theme near to completion at this stage.
Final artwork would be produced and final checks are made before the
client signs the job off for production. It is now that the job can be
sent to production (print, signage, coding for websites etc.)
All this in an ideal world, but more often than not, we have the
constraints of deadlines to be met. In this world of communication and
technology, this often reduces meetings to telephone calls, emails or
faxes and two weeks scheduled work into a 24 to 48 hour non-stop marathon.
Long-term clients benefit from the saving in research time when the
designer understands the nature and aims of the clients business.
© In The Clouds Design 2004