My design process
but explained as if the narrator of the movie just broke the fourth wall and is telling the audience how we got into this whole mess. The record scratches, the frame freezes:
I bet you’re wondering how we ended up here. Well…
Step 1. Look around. Observe.
The first step in solving any problem is to figure out what it is first. There are a few ways you can do this.
The best way to find the problem is to go about your day, talk to your friends, your family, your pet, interact with products, people watch, or of course, get approached by a client who already has a problem to solve. Life can be serendipitous in that way.
Step 2. Think… think long and hard…
Now you have the problem. Time to ruminate. Ask any question you could possibly have about it and find the answers. Create your brief.
Why doesn’t this exist yet?
Is a product or brand not functioning as it should?
How can it be improved?
How do I make this from scratch?
What do I need? What do I need to find out?
What do I know about this client?
Step 3. Research. And then research a little more.
After, of course, thinking long enough, we approach the do step. One of my personal favorite parts about the design process is the research stage. Any curiosity you might have about the project should be addressed, found out, and written out in this step.
Research can be done through interviews, books, the internet, and through observation, to name a few. Dig until you can’t dig anymore (or you think you can’t). Start thinking about visuals. Become inspired by other projects, make a moodboard. Or 12.
Step 4. Sketch, sketch, ideate.
Find the nearest writing utensil and start getting all the visuals that are swirling through your head on paper. The philosophy of 100-10-1 works great here. Start sketching out 100 ideas: logo ideas, layout ideas, style ideas, copywriting ideas, ad ideas, etc — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sift out the bad and the ugly and keep your 10 best. Continue narrowing it down until you reach the 1.
Step 5. Iterate.
At this point you have your big idea, so now it’s time to experiment with how to communicate it visually in nearly every way possible. Think of colors, typefaces, brand elements, photography or illustration styles, hierarchy, and layout. Ask friends inside and outside of design to give their feedback. Create style guides. Just keep going.
Step 6. Fin.
Every designer knows a project never really feels finished. Somehow, we can keep going until our fingers are ready to fall off. But once you settle on a brand identity and voice, the rest of the project almost makes itself. Time to pat yourself (and your team) on the back.