Process Makes Perfect
All of us that went through design school were likely taught the importance of process—regardless of what design field you’re in. In school we may have skipped a couple of the steps integral to a full and complete design process. Moving on into the real world we all have to put in the effort to fulfill our duty to our clients by going through all the steps and doing fully comprehensive design work—which includes the process.
Everyone does design process differently, but there are some fundamentals to all design process methods. In this post we illuminate our process here at ONETWOSIX, and try to explain how this process could apply to other design disciplines.
As mentioned before, we do things a bit differently here at ONETWOSIX—we put a major focus on prototyping our products AND working hand-in-hand with our clients to build the best possible product for them. This kind of rapid prototyping and inclusion of the client is imperative to the design process at ONETWOSIX and isn’t utilized by most design practices.
1. Meet and Greet:
For the first step we make it a priority to meet with our clients in person whenever possible. By meeting with our clients we are able to gauge the expectations of the client, and how we can best work with them to achieve these expectations. It also allows us to get a brief idea of what the client envisions for a final product, and how people would be expected to interact with the product. We make sure to ask as many questions as we can, in order to get everything right. This process is fairly easy to expand to all fields of design, and should be fairly similar—if not exactly the same.
2. Research, Research, Research:
Like the previous point, this should be an essential aspect of design process across all design practices. Deciding on the proper design research methods is important—and often helps you define the user group, and what problems you could possibly run into. The things you must consider when deciding on the proper methods for design research are: your client’s field, your client’s budget, what exactly is being researched, your client’s scope, and your time frame. If you want to know a bit more about choosing the right design research methods, head here. For a hard copy read, check out “Research methods for product design” by Alex Milton & Paul Rodgers. Ideo also has an awesome list of digital tools for design research.
3. Pull out Your Sketch Book:
This step is also an all-encompassing point of design process, you need to sketch out mockups of your design ideas, and ideate possible solutions—mind maps work great for ideation. Sketching out designs allows you and your client to identify possible problems, and visualize a final product before prototyping. This could be achieved by a digital means as well after you have generated some ideas on paper.
Now, this could mean different things to different design fields. In our practice we focus on rapid prototyping of concepts, by 3d printing or using a CNC machine. This practice helps us to identify problems and allows the client, or the user group, to identify problems—whether practical, or aesthetic. In another design field such as graphic design, this could mean printing out concepts at full size, or creating a workable mockup for web and UX design.
By following these steps for your process, you can dramatically increase your quality of product and service to your client. This means more repeat business, and a relationship with your client that will last for years to come. It’s extremely important that you make your client aware of every step you take while designing the product, and remember to get their opinion as often as possible.