The Design Process – A Process for Better Products and Services

THE PROCESS

In this article I would like to share the design process we use on our projects. Personally I got very interested in the Design Process when I was studying for my MA. What is most interesting is many of the most successful businesses in the world all have a structured design process which all share many of the same stages. It was clear from the research I conducted that using a structured design process can aid any business into creating better products and services. At Design and i, we prescribe to a design process with 4 key stages. The stages are broken up into the discovery, definition, develop and delivery stages. Using a design process enable us to consistently deliver outstanding brand identities that deliver results for our clients. Using a structured design process in your business, if you don’t do so already, will improve consistency and quality of your product or service. It will also help with project management and delivery.

In the following stages I talk in terms of a brand design, after all thats what we do, but this can be replaced with your product of service.

 

DISCOVER

In the Discovery stage of a branding project we research a clients market and competition. We also research current and future branding trends that would benefit their brand identity. Research highlights the key do’s and don’t, and potential opportunities which would have been otherwise missed if me had started the project blind.

DEFINE

With the aid of the research in the discovery stage and the initial brief we can then define the brand identity. This is very important stage as it gets all parties on the same page so to speak.

The brand design and its various assets can be defined in various documents such as the concept document, top down design, cost benefits analysis and functional specifications. This stage can also be used in creating a contract with the client of deliverables for the project.

DEVELOP

Once the requirements for the project are defined the initial concepts are created through the use of static screen designs. Designs evolve organically through consultation with the client until a final design is agreed. Again with this stage, it can become part of the contract with the client.

DELIVER

The final stage of the design process is delivering the finalised designs from the previous stage. This might be building a web site, or finalising a logo design and delivering it to the client in various formats.

Because brand identities are liquid in terms of ever changing business environments, they will continue to evolve long after the original brand identity has been signed off. Its important to have a good relationship with your brand designers as a brand identity is along term investment. This is true of many products or services. The design process is never truly finished, a product or service will continue to evolve.

Further Reading

If you are interested in the design process, the Design Council have lots of useful resources on it.