Observe, Identify, Investigate
It all starts with a problem. Fortunately for me, there are millions of problems in the world that need creative solutions, the hard part is choosing only one to solve. I’ve learned to navigate the world to see problems that need creative solutions. Observation of the world around me is my main source of inspiration.
Once I’ve identified a problem the fun part begins- my research. The research process of design is one of my favorite parts because it informs the rest of the project. I value comprehensive research of my topic because without it I feel lost. I obviously start with a general search of my topic on the internet and familiarize myself with whatever it may be. At that point, my research has only just begun. I enjoy diving into scholarly articles, blog posts, archival records, documentaries, whatever I can that will give me unique insight into my topic. I love being a designer because it allows me to become an expert in topics I would otherwise know nothing about. In this stage I’m identifying problems, needs, desires, and what already exists that I can improve upon.
At this point, have pages upon pages of research, notes, and sketches laid out and I’m ready to being ideating. I make word banks, mind maps, and rough sketches to get main ideas and themes connecting on paper. For me, having an overarching concept that guides my design is of the upmost importance, and the best way I’ve found to do this is to visually interpret the research. My concepts are based off the problem I’m trying to solve and the culmination of research from the previous stage. Often times, one seemingly random or obscure part of my research sticks out to me and I am able to turn it into a design concept. I come up with many possible concepts for any given problem that are based on different parts of the research, the audience profiles, and the visual voices. These options are all different and allow me to thoroughly consider all avenues before I decide on one to move forward with.
Once I’ve solidified a concept and visual voice, it’s time to start designing. I sketch logo ideas, create tentative brand kits, begin designing spreads, ideate packaging, draw out wireframes, or whatever else the specific project calls for. I create, ask for feedback, go back to the drawing board, create more, get critique, reiterate, you get the idea. This step is where the design really begins to take shape and the voice of the brands starts to come out.
After countless rounds of feedback, the design is complete. At the end, it tells a visual story to a specific group of people, and is hopefully successful in getting people to take action.