Every good design starts with a great idea. Here is a sneak peek into the process I use to solve problems and turn them into creative and conceptual solutions.
Step One: Be an observer
The first step in solving any problem is to pay close attention to the world around you. We are constantly surrounded by new ideas, you just have to know where to look to find inspiration. Reading up on new topics, listening to podcasts, watching movies, exploring new music and people watching are just a few of the things that get my brain going.
Step Two: Research, research...and a little more research
Once a problem has been identifed, I set out to learn as much as I can about the topic. A researcher at heart, I love to get to know my subject inside and out. Here I begin to make (the first of many) lists to organize all my thoughts and start to identifty key questions and research highlights. From there I can begin developing a brief and getting to know my target audience.
Step Three: Brainstorm
When I feel like I have a good understanding of my problem and a hefty collection of research notes, the fun part begins. I begin to fill my sketchbook with mind maps, sketches and little notes to myself. At this stage my brain is usually overflowing with ideas, and I leave it all on the page. Once I feel like I have generated a good amount of little ideas, I start to identify the strongest ones to expand on.
Step Four: First drafts
After I’ve decided on a general direction I want to take this idea, I start to produce some rough iterations. Though its rarely ever pretty, it helps me get my ideas out and start to get a feel for the project. I often like to create multiple drafts that experiment with different colors, typefaces, brand elements, photography or illustration styles, hierarchy, and layouts. From here, I begin to gather my first round of feedback and take detailed notes on what’s working and what’s not and start to make adjustments from there.
Step Five: Even more drafts
Once I’ve recieved my first round of feedback, I begin to pick out the strongest concept and continue to push it further. I work to make sure all of the elements of the design are working to support the message and voice of the idea, and portray them as clearly and cleverly as possible. In this stage, I find its important to keep trying new things and to continue gathering feedback.
Step Six: The big finale
Eventually, every project must come to an end. After exploring and working through (so, so many) iterations of the concept, the best and final version is emerges. Little details are tended to and all loose ends are tied up to create the final product. Now its time to have a little mini celebration for a job well done, but it won’t be long before I’m back at work on my next big idea.