The Design Process


The Brief
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 various sources.

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


in the clouds design

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