My Design Process - Part One:

Lately I have been listening to this podcast called LogoGeek UK. All the podcast are interviews with different designer about their careers. The last one I heard was like pulling teeth, it was an interview with an experienced designer and they focus was his design process. This seems to be the secret sauce of every designer. Some designers love to talk about how they create for their clients, while others are very short when you ask them how the work was done. This designer answered the question on the very concise and nothing was elaborated on and everything was answered very simplistic.

Team, let me share a little something. It is not easy, it is not concise and quick it is quite a process. Yes, every designer has a secret sauce, a style, a set of tools that they use and this is what makes us all unique. Some designers go straight to a computer and start mocking up things while others do hundreds of doodles on a page and refine their art until a polished logo, promotional item or website comes out.

My process is not much different. I do not start any designs even if I think I have a greater idea until I sit down and talk to the client. I normally send them a questionnaire with simple questions to get a better idea of what they like and do not like, in terms of design. Once I send them the questions then I schedule an in-person meeting or some type of conference call. In this second exploratory meeting, I ask them more questions that stem from the basic questionnaire. Very rarely do I send the customers a questionnaire and not have a follow up meeting. This meeting allows me to gather a lot of data on the company, brand or customer I will be designing for.

Once I have all that data, I start the research phase,I take my time with this phase and plan out what ideas and feeling I want the users to experience. I review the competitors, relatable brands, how users will react, how the information will be organized, what type of users will be using this product to name a few. Once I have a better idea of the competition as well as the market for that design, I move on to creating a concept, this is still not a visual, this is all about planning what I want to portray and how I want to organize the information. Than I verify that what my created concept fit into the market and match with my customers likes and dislikes. Do those items sound familiar? They do? They should, it’s the basis to UX

User Experience (UX)
Designing in my opinion has many steps to it it's not just sitting down and doodling until something looks good. Panning and carefully crafting, creating key points and diagrams before you start doodling helps and inspires me to create something unique that just works for my customer. The User Experience designer main role is to solve an issue or problem, they use the phases of UX to start molding and theoretically creating a project. The process starts with research -- Team this is one of the cases in which what we learned will be used in real life. We do use research skills taught to us in high school and college so remember them and pay attention.-- In this phase I like to focus on what the competitors are doing, what larger companies with the same services are doing, and what local similar companies are doing. I review what has worked for those companies and what has not worked, in the sense of design, business and management, so that my customers can have a slight edge.

Next I take that data and focus on creating ideas, all and any ideas. It does not matter if its bad or good at this point. This is where I get the creative juices flowing. I focus on how I want the customers using these services, how they feel, focus on experience, how they would use this product and think about how to make that customer come back. If I am working with another creative I like to take this time to sit down and talk and collaborate.

Design - still not doodling :
Next is when I start gathering my good ideas and the bad ones and start narrowing down and combining and weeding out concepts to start creating a more concrete and solidified thought. I start wireframing in cases of web design projects at this point. Organization is a big key item in this step. Maybe coming up with tag lines or key points that I want to display in the final product.

Test and reset:
Finally we bring all this data together and make sure that it makes sense. That all the pieces of the puzzle fit, ensuring that the customers likes and dislikes, that target audience of my customer is being represented and reached, that the ideas and feeling portrayed are accurately felt. If everything falls into place then we move on to the doodling phase were start putting focused ideas on paper or on the programs. If the pieces still do not fit we reset and start again at the beginning and repeat until the pieces finally fit. Yes, it is a process and it can be tedious but with practice you as a designer can get better and better at creating and solidifying your ideas.

Once all that is done then we move on to adding some character to our strong structure, carefully crafted, set of concepts. As we mentioned before none of these items are solidified visually. All of our concept up to this point are data points, bullet points, organizational maps but none of the visuals are yet to be solidified. The crafting of a final product is next.

Thanks for reading team, part two will be the next blog.


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