For some designers it’s quite easy to create a design without consciously going through a design process where as for others they need to go through the various steps in their personal process to achieve what the believe is the most satisfying product. Either way the process is always located in your subconscious whether you notice it or not.
Knowing your design process can be a handy tool in in creating a design for yourself or a client. There can be a minimal amount of steps or there can be quite a few depending on how you as a designer feel comfortable in conducting your ideas and trials in designing. For me personally there are 4 specific steps that I follow:
Step 1: Research
This step is where all the inspiration and factual information comes in, starting the process off with a good understanding of what your dealing with. The way of understanding is through knowing what the problem is and finding possible solutions.
This can be research on specific topics, client backgrounds (to gain an idea of what field of work they do, what some past designs look like if there have been any) to get an overall view of the best way to represent their needs and even just research things that you like such as other designers’ work. Combining this research with your understanding of the problem enables you to begin generating your ideas for the final design.
Step 2: Analyzing
With your mental combination of inspiration and information you begin to analyze how you are going to combine them at a physical level. Usually you begin by making numerous sketches, giving your initial ideas a materialistic view where you can change ideas or bring certain ideas together. You can be repeating step 1 to find more inspiration during this step if need be.
(By the way ‘repetition’ is a huge factor in a design process)
Step 3: Prototyping
Your ideas become even more realistic during this section as you begin concreting your final design. Here you can use various types of programs or art forms to create the overall product. This can be in the form of hand illustration, photography, vector art, an interactive element or even a video (just to name a few).
There will most likely be various trials and errors along the way but that leads to more experience and understanding of what is the best way to create the most satisfying design by overcoming these obstacles. However, if you don’t believe you complete a large amount of trials that’s ok, this just means you have a set plan which may be your most comfortable mindset. Yet sometimes it might be a wise choice to throw in another version of your design to give your first product a comparative object to allow for an analysis of what works best.
Step 4: Feedback
This is a highly important step as it determines whether your design meets the initial demands or whether it still needs some adjusting. If you have created a successful design “Congrats!”, your work has met the requirements. However, if your design needs adjusting don’t panic this is a good thing for both you and the client.
Improving your design gives you the opportunity to learn and gain more experience by fixing certain aspects that need assistance in meeting the client’s idea of a satisfactory design. This will allow for a repetition of step 3 and possible steps 1 & 2 as well depending on your situation (which can be a good idea for all improvements if you feel it will help out). Once you believe you have met everything from the first feedback you can resubmit your work and find out how well you did (sometimes you will go through this part of the process multiple times in order to please the client).
Feedback from family, friends and teachers can also be a good way in finding influence for improving your final design.