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The design process - how it's done


The process varies from case to case but typically starts with a pencil and a blank paper. It can be an idea which already has a basic concept that needs developing and refinement or something completely new. Creative work is not an exact science and an idea can come at any time and place. The trick is to create an environment in which it's easy to focus and find inspiration. There are many tools and techniques to use in order to support the creative workflow such as post-it notes, mind maps, creative thinking games, playing around with colours and shapes, among other things.

Below is one way of describing the design process in general:

The design process phases

Illustration: Marcus Segerros

The above figure describes the process in 4 stages, or milestones, which is a rough description. Most people believe that a design project simply goes from point A to point B, while the actual process might look a bit different. It can require looping back and forth through the stages and/or adding more dedication to a specific task in order to make the final result meet the expectations/requirements. However, the project will align itself better

to the goal and the stages/milestones by making sure that the initial brief and planning is thoroughly defined, and by good commu-nication and planning throughout the rest of the project. It's vital that the involved parties have the same vision of where the project is going and how the path to get there looks like. It can therefore be a good idea to sit down early on and discuss the project, the end goal/vision and some initial ideas. Which-

ever the case, the process is flexible and doesn't need to involve all the stages, it can focus on certain parts. Maybe only some research and/or idea generation or simply to refine and present an existing idea in a clear and nice way. The process can be applied over and over again to make sure

that the idea and/or product stays up to date and is competitive.      



1. Research and analyse

Most projects require some research before the ideation work starts, or possibly doing that simultaneously. It's always a good idea to have as much information as possible regarding the target group, competitors, technology and manufacturing, design and trends and whichever information is needed in order to complete the task well.


2. Ideation

When the necessary information is gathered the process of bringing out ideas starts, usually with a pen and paper. It then moves on to digital rendering techniques involving sketching, 3d-rendering and illustration.


3. Concept and evaluation

When a number of ideas have been produced they need to be evaluated and refined and evolved into a clear concept which is feasible and applicable.


4. Testing and refining

The concept or concepts need to be tested in order to see if they fit the demands specified and then make some changes accordingly. Then they need to be delivered and implemented into the intended end state.




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