"Design Process" is a restrictive phrase for something that should be free to go in any direction. It's good practice to have a baseline, but you have to be comfortable with the idea of throwing it away. Every project is different, and sticking to strict rules makes no sense.
In this article, we will share some of our guiding principles; we may not have or do all of these for every project, and as much as it looks linear, we often zig or zag and do something that fits better.
Knowing the business and client team is just as crucial as understanding problems and goals. We start by discussing how we work and how we can collaborate. We get to know each other on a human level.
Having the right question is just as important as the correct solution. We work together to scope the work. It starts with simple questions like: What are the project goals? Who are the target users? What is motivating or enabling you to do this project now? Are there any KPIs for this project?
It can be surprising how often client teams are not aligned. This information keeps the entire team focused.
Get your notepad out, start sketching, doodling, typing - the sky is the limit. Start with everything and round down, applying constraints as you dive deeper.
With brand projects, our ideas are often captured by one giant document, usually broken into these three areas: Graphic/Composition, Imagery/Photography and Motion / Choreography.
The purpose of this document is to explore and create the vibe of the intended output, which could be a product/app, website, stationary, event material and everything in between.
We start by creating multiple solutions to one journey. We then agree internally on what we feel works best. Taking that idea, we create low-fidelity designs and make them prototypes, so we can use and test the core functionality. We concentrate on the core goals and not edge cases.
For digital design, this often means getting your prototype in front of customers. For a brand, it means testing the concept in various contexts. After some testing, we align on one direction.
The client's business landscape will change, and their brand may find itself in positions it hadn't imagined. We apply their brand in real-world scenarios and give the client a peek into where they could take their brand with a little TLC.
We test accessibility along the way for digital designs, but nothing beats real-world trials. We'll also validate our user flows with testing and Q&A sessions. These tests can take place at any stage, but they must happen.
Ideas and concepts are great, but the culmination of all this information needs to be translated and understandable.
You must have an up-to-date, fully functioning design library. Having this document will help future designs and answer many initial questions you may have from a developer. Using tools like Figma during your design process helps this a lot.
You may already have completed your primary flows, but there are many more to investigate and plan for. Creating an information architecture document can help spot the gaps. All secondary details need to be fully fleshed out here.
We create a master document that directs the client to all outputs and instructions. We again take this opportunity to present to the client all final documentation and how to use their new toolkit moving forward.
We also like to sneak in a few surprises during this final presentation. Nothing too dramatic, but we always aim to give more than was requested. This could be some brand treatment or a campaign idea they could have in the future.