Design Skills - Resources and Training for Designers

The Design Process
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Many people believe that design is a linear process but it is rarely so. In fact it is closer to a cyclic process and involves a healthy dose of questioning and creative thinking. Ideas and concepts may have to be revised at any stage of a project.

It is possible, for example, that an idea put forward at the start of a project turns out to be beyond the available budget. Or, there may be unforeseen problems occurring during the implementation stage of a project. It is also possible to work on more than one stage of the design process at any one time.

Moreover, having an idea and sticking to it without exploring other options may result in overlooking alternative, more appropriate solutions. If possible designers involved in a project benefit from a period of incubation which will enable them to look at the project afresh. This means that they may decide to change direction or explore new possibilities.

In some areas, commercial considerations impact greatly on design strategies. Not only do designers have to work within tight deadlines, they also have to meet the needs of potential customers as well as those of the business. This implies a lot of research, observation and analysis in order to understand a business, its customers and trigger inspiration. This process goes through 4 stages: understanding, observation, visualisation and appraisal. Although each stage involves specific procedures, they are dependant on one another.

Whatever the reason for revisiting an area of a design project, the objective remains to move things forward. It can sometimes be very discouraging to have to rework an idea when the reasons for doing so are beyond the designer's control. It is worth remembering however that problems and constraints are only opportunities waiting to be found. Some of the best, most creative and innovative design work ever to occur, happened because the designer was trying to overcome difficult conditions.

Below, is an example of the process for an interior designer. Variations occur depending on the type and size of the project but this framework can be adapted to other design profession. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.

The design process - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image

Skills Design Principles

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