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Archive for April, 2012

Design Process : Why do we need it?

Creativity is everywhere; it is part of our everyday life. From brewing a cup of coffee in the morning to getting our job done at work everything somehow has a touch of our creativity. However, when we need to design something properly it requires that we do it consciously. As a designer, if we are to solve a visual problem, we would need to provide an effective and timeless solution.

At work, often times there are projects that demand fresh concepts and at the same time has a short deadline. A designer could start designing with the graphic software to try to create a final version at one go, without reasoning why certain elements have been used like font face or a certain image/clipart on the design. The designer creates one design after another to know what works or not. This unorganized workflow sometimes put a lot of pressure on the designer and could lead to a creative block. Therefore, the output produced is not as expected and fail to satisfy the designer or the boss. In this scenario, designers should have some design process to accomplish the task in an organized and timely manner. The Design Process could be defined as “a linear sequence of events that has a starting and an end point. (Sometimes you have to go back a stage if new information comes to light. In certain cases you may only look at one or two stages)”*. This process is structured around ensuring the client gets the highest quality solution and service appropriate to their business, marketing or communication problem.

Let’s consider one of our projects, The Therap Rap animated video, as an example of how we have applied a design process during its development. The rap video informs about Therap and it’s significant modules.

Here are the steps that have/had been followed:

1. Define the problem/understand the requirement. You would only be able to come up with solutions if you could clearly define the problem. It is important that we gather sufficient information about the project and know the main objective. As for this rap video, our main goal was to create something fun for our customers and to see if we could have the video go viral. Something that would inspire the user to spread this over facebook, youtube etc. Other requirements was to make it 2D animation, create a cartoons of Jeremy, the rapper, our CEO, Richard Robbins, and Anna Keith, National Director of Business Development. We also incorporated, Therap’s virtual trainer T-girl and made her do few break dance steps.

2. Researching. This involves looking for existing solutions for such projects or getting inspirations by looking at others work. So we went through few jibjab style videos to see how their message has been conveyed through funny ideas. We also checked out lot of break dance videos to get some steps for T-girl.

3. Brainstorming. After getting inspirations we sat together to brainstorm how we want the video to come out. We went thru the lyrics of the song and examined how or what best ways could be used to present the ideas thru animation.

4. Storyboarding. While brainstorming we came up with lots of ideas and we sketched them out. After determining the final concept we started with storyboards for each stage of animation. We divided the lyrics into slides. We sketched the placements of graphics/objects for each slides. We also determined how the animation transitions would be.

5. Execution. In this stage we start with the graphic software and begin creating the stuff.

6. Feedback and Modifications. While developing, portions of the animation were reviewed by our marketing team and necessary changes were made.

7. Final output. Check it out!

This video was moderately successful, since it was done in 2009 and during that time, we had only few facebook friends and youtube followers. In 2012, we will try our hand at making a viral video one more time.

Though not mandatory, it is recommended to follow some rules when designing. The practice of having some approaches would help us simplify our workflow and let us spend more time being creative.

Conclusion

Instead of designing subconsciously, let us design consciously and be able to explain every element used in the design. It would not only help us achieve the goal of the design but also improve the quality of the design. A design process will save a lot of time and energy and most importantly help the designer produce more samples for revision in a short time. A good plan would also elevate company’s branding value in terms of stability and reliability. As for personal growth, designer should not just sit in front of the computer to generate ideas rather go out in the environment to get some inspiration. They may also revisit old works once in a while and think of other alternative solutions to improve it.

* http://www.techitoutuk.com/knowledge/designprocess.html