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Stages of thinking

Design is a process that turns a brief or requirement into a finished product or design solution

01. Research - Collecting background information
01. Research

Collecting background information

Once the brief has been defined and agreed, we start to search for information that can be fed into the creative process at the ideate stage. This research can be either quantitative, with hard statistical numbers about the size and composition of target user groups, or qualitative, with information about what that user group buys or consumes and what their lifestyle is like. It may be pertinent to build a mental model of a typical user in order to enable our design team to obtain a good feel for what would appeal to us. This includes factors such as education, career, holiday destinations, musical tastes, aspirations and so on.

  • Do you have feedback from previous projects?
  • Do you have a statistical composition of the user group?
  • Do you understand the target market?
  • What is the education level of the user group?
  • What is the typical lifestyle of the user group?
  • What are the aspirations of the user group?
02. Ideate

Creating potential solutions

During the ideate stage, our team draws on the research gathered and the constraints established during the define stage. This information is used to create ideas with which to tackle the design brief.

  • Do you understand the brief?
  • Do you have sufficient research information?
  • Which methods will be used for idea generation?
02. Ideate - Creating potential solutions
03. Prototype - Resolving solutions
03. Prototype

Resolving solutions

The ideate stage generates a variety of potential solutions to the design brief. Prior to selection, it may be necessary to further work up the most promising of these solutions. This will allow particular aspects to be tested and will provide a better basis for comparison at the selection stage. In such cases a prototype can be created.

  • Do all potential solutions require prototyping?
  • What elements will the prototype test?
  • What functionality will the prototype have?
04. Select

Making choices

The select stage is the point at which one of the proposed design solutions is chosen for development. The key decision criterion is fitness for purpose: does the design meet the needs and goals of the brief, and will it effectively communicate to the target audience to achieve those aims? The winning design is typically that which most closely meets the design brief, or a significant part of it. It may not be possible or desirable to meet all the requirements of a brief within a single design. For example, market segmentation increasingly calls for different marketing and design solutions for different segments

  • Does the design meet the defined needs of the brief?
  • Does the design resonate with the target audience?
  • Can the design be produced on time and on budget?
  • Are there other factors to take into account?
  • Has the client signed off the design?
04. Select - Making choices
05. Implement - Delivering the solution to the design brief
05. Implement

Delivering the solution to the design brief

During this stage, we pass the design artwork and format specifications to those who will be supplying the final product. This might be a printer, web builder or fabricator. This moment provides a good opportunity to confirm the production specifications such as print quantity and what you expect to receive. For example, a printer is usually given some leeway to account for set-up in the different steps of the the print process. This means an order for 100 flyers may not result in the receipt of 100. It may be more or may be less. By double-checking, everyone is clear about the level of expectation, and what the client expectations are.

  • Has the client signed off the designs?
  • Have printers or other production professionals been booked?
  • Has the artwork been delivered to production professionals?
  • Has the job been proofed against the design?
  • Has the finished job been delivered?
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