Essentially, the purpose of the design process remains the same for all designers: get our ideas from our minds into reality. Our personalities nuance our respective processes and inevitably makes every designer’s process unique. I think it’s safe to say that any designer can truly appreciate the design process and understand why anything we produce goes way beyond the surface. While I can’t speak for every designer, my design process generally follows a chronology of brainstorming and sketching, followed by refining my better ideas, completed by the execution of my refined ideas, all the while plagued by short spells of procrastination and panic.
Our main focus as designers is to solve problems. Every time we set out to design, we are setting out to make the world a better place by finding a solution to an issue that we face. Every brief received from a client is a problem. Our job is to make it simpler for them. For that reason, our most valuable assets in the design process are our minds. The better the ideas we have, the better our solutions for our clients’ problems will be. This is why brainstorming is the most fundamental step in any design process. If we went with the first idea to came to our minds right away we might be missing out on such better ones. During the brainstorming process I prefer to sketch every idea that comes to mind, from the most seemingly unexciting ones to the ones that I think could change the world. Taking the time to really pry the potential of our minds works wonders when it comes to design.
Once we have our ideas in front of us, the next step is to make our good ideas even better. We can look at our material and decide which of our ideas show promise and those which can be left behind. Once we have the few that we think have the most potential, then our best action is to make those ideas even better. Think of those ideas like marble slabs. We are Michelangelos with our sculpting tools about to create some Davids. After we refine our ideas to the point where we see them fit to be created, we can then delve into their final renderings.
Whether we work with computers, cameras, paints, or whatever else, once we have our ideas in mind, inevitably we will end up using these tools in order to complete the design process. When we first begin our journeys as designers, our ideas may take what may seem like a lifetime to complete. However, as we practise more and get better at what we do, we also become faster in our arts. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that every project that we have can be completed in two hours. Some projects may still take near lifetimes to complete, but good work takes time. Rushed work will be sloppy and of poor quality. It is better that we dedicate our hearts and souls into our products rather than giving clients less than what they deserve.
As a footnote, procrastination and panic spells aren’t all bad. Sometimes they inspire some of our brightest ideas. Other times, they just end up only affecting us negatively and taking away from our time that we could spend on other matters. I recommend that, when we find ourselves in these situations, we just go with them and adapt as best as we can. Remaining calm plays a large factor in how efficiently we can work. The most important thing is to get our best work to our clients within the specified time so that everyone is happy. How we use our time ultimately depends on ourselves.
The next time someone tries to condescendingly insult you by ridiculing your design work, I recommend that you explain the design process to them in detail. They may develop a new appreciation for your trade after that conversation. Remember, we solve problems for the world. Our jobs are so much more meaningful than simply being a client’s puppet. Once we show our importance as designers, we will be able to command a lot more respect from the rest of the world. Then, they will understand why the design process is so important.