a person sketching

Design Process For The Win

I know for a fact that whenever you are assigned a project that requires 10 sketches, you make them after. That doesn’t help you. In fact, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage, the other routes you could have explored likely would have resulted in a more refined final product. I am sharing with you my go to design process that will work for more than just assignments, but first of all, a story to emphasize the importance of having a design process. Enjoy!

There was an occasion in which I did not follow the design process, it was a mess. Once I heard the description of the assignment I had a semi-clear picture of what I wanted to do from the start. I didn’t sketch the idea or anything. Fast forward a couple days to where I’m about to start working, I try to make something, anything,  but nothing is working. The layout is wrong, some of the elements look off. It was a disaster, and I realized that so I tried to switch ideas a.k.a. disaster part 2. I eventually went back to my original idea, sketched some things out and got feedback. I never was pleased with the end result but long story short, follow your version of the design process described below.

My Process

Once I’ve heard the outline of the assignment I make a list of what I already know and start drawing, quick sketches to make sure none of my ideas get lost. You don’t need to draw the whole thing, elements that you plan to include are a great place to start. If you’re having trouble finding somewhere to get started check out my other blog post: How To Find Inspiration.

The more feedback the better. Photo Credit: StockSnap on Pixabay

Get some feedback on your sketches. When conducting surveys, the more replies you get the more accurate your results will be, something I’ve also found to be true with feedback.  I usually show one of my friends or a family members my sketches because I like to get a range of perspectives.

Take note of the feedback you were given and apply it in the next set of sketches you make. It’s good to get feedback but you have to use it effectively for it to be worth your time.

I combine all my sketches and feedback to make a final sketch so there’s no guesswork on my computer. It’s only once I’ve completed that final sketch that I will even open my computer. While I’m working, I keep my original inspiration close by and a mood-board if I have one.

Stay inspired. Photo Credits: Cottonbro from Pexels

You can use the design process for more than just school projects, it’s applicable to almost any situation that comes your way. It’s a form of problem solving.

I’ve included a link to interaction-design.org that includes a step by step design process and a worksheet you can follow.

I hope you found this helpful, thanks for reading!

Lightbulb on chalkboard

How To Find Inspiration

You walk into your first day of Interactive Media Arts, everything’s great, you meet new people, learn new things, it’s all a piece of cake. Then the assignments start coming and the inspiration and ideas don’t follow. I’ve compiled a list of my tried and true methods that I look to when my ideas just aren’t flowing.

Exploration To Ease Frustration

Go for a walk. Being in the same place for a long time can make it difficult to be creative. A fresh environment can help stimulate new thinking.

Observation is Key

Look at what others are doing, I find looking at designs can help as people have such varying perceptions of the world and they notice different things. Be careful not to copy someone’s ideas. Sites like designinspiration have a lot of great content. Another place I like to go to for inspiration is Pinterest, you can organize your different thoughts into boards, it’s a great resource for anyone.

Woman listening to music
Photo Credit: Bruce Mars from Pexels
Change Your Tune

Listen to music, and if you’re already doing that, listen to something completely different. According to Jill Suttie, music helps diversify your thinking, regardless of if you like what you’re listening to or not.

Speak is the New Chic

Talk to someone. Get their view on the task at hand, they might have an insight you never would have come up with. Sometimes just explaining the project to a friend may help, especially if they have less knowledge in the subject and you have to describe it in a more simplistic way.

notebook
Photo Credit: Ann H from Pexels
Don’t Forget It, You’ll Regret It

When creativity does hit write it down, NOW. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few keywords or a sketch, just get your idea onto something. I can almost guarantee you won’t remember it or at least not to its full capacity. Carry a little notebook with you or keep notes on your phone, make it as accessible as possible to store ideas.

Tried and True

This final tip is something I’m sure you’ve heard a million times but I included it because it’s true: find what works for you, there isn’t going to be any one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes your go-tos will change as you get older or work on different types of projects.

As Einstein once said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This is applicable to more than just physics. I get it, sometimes you’re stressed and time constraints don’t help. Just take it one step at a time and break the task into more attainable chunks. If you still are coming up with nothing, take a short break and start fresh.

If new ideas still feel like finding a needle in a haystack I’ve included some links to alternative sites with a different perspective that may help get the inspiration flowing for you. 

I hope you enjoyed my blog. Thanks for reading!