Part of my approach to teaching first semester students has been to instill an understanding and appreciation for the Design Process as part of the creative practice. The Design Process that we follow is based on the UK Design Council’s 4 D’s: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. Our design process embraces creative “free play” and experimentation, high-impact collaboration, research and exploration, multiple iterations and revisions, effective technical execution, on-going critical reflection and feedback, and professional delivery through verbal, written, and visual presentation.
To reinforce this practice, I ask students to post and comment at each phase of the Design Process on our shared class blog. For Freshman students, my aim is to build awareness of the importance of the Discover phase (play, free-writing, free-sketching, uncensored brainstorming), which is critical for creative innovation and the phase which is often lost as students move through the curriuculm.
Below are the Design Process Guidelines, which are presented as part of my class syllabus.
DESIGN PROCESS GUIDELINES
Document your Design Process on the class blog by adding a post for each phase of your project and commenting on other student’s posts. To keep things organized, tag and categorize your posts by Project and Phase.
Phase 1: Discover: Inspiration, Exploration and Play
Phase 2: Define: Experimentation, Iteration and Feedback
Phase 3: Develop: Refined expression of Form, Skill, Craft and Voice
Phase 4: Deliver: Professional verbal, written, and visual presentation; critical reflection
Documenting your design process will help you to develop and sustain your own creative practice after you finish the course.
- Help you to develop your own creative process through careful observation, documentation, presentation and assessment of each project.
- Get feedback from your peers and interact online in a relaxed, but professional manner.
- Present your work in progress and your finished work to others.
- Organize all the information from the class.
- Display your individual assignments in a clear, appropriate manner
- Serve as a record of your learning achievements from which to expand and develop in future courses.
- Gain experience using standard design vocabulary terms to express your ideas.
- Develop online communication and information literacy skills using WordPress and OpenLab.
Adding a Post:
- In the class blog WordPress Dashboard, click on the tab Posts > Add New to create a new post for each Phase of a project.
- Add a title in the title box at the top. (Refer to the specific guidelines for each Project.)
- Add an image (Add > Media) or formatted written content using the Post Editor.
- Each post should contain a written description and link to a referenced URL, image, video, audio file or other media (if appropriate).
- All linked or embedded media MUST contain a caption citing the creator or author. (For example: if you find an image on Google, you must credit the creator of that image).
- Add the relevant Category and Tag (choose from the existing list). Example: Category = COMD1100 Project #1, Tags = Phase 1: Discover
- Click Save Draft for later or click Publish to publish immediately.
- Whenever you add a post to the blog, comment to at least 3 other classmates’ posts and ask them to do the same.
- Make sure you are logged into OpenLab and click on the link found below or above a post. Sometimes it’s called “Comment”, “Reply”, or similar.
- Your comment should be constructive and very clear.
- State what part of the post you are commenting on (example: the sketch in the upper left hand corner…)
- Using the course vocabulary define what works and what doesn’t work about the sketch, research, writing or final work presented, as it relates to the project guidelines. Reread the project guidelines before commenting.
- Comments such as “I like it.” or “Needs improvement” should be expanded to clarify WHY you like it or WHAT needs improvement.
Each comment should include:
- When someone comments on your post, you will need to approve it before it is visible to others.
- OpenLab will notify you via email when someone comments on your post. You can simply click on the link to approve the comment in your Dashboard.
Based on the UK Design Council’s design process model: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver, the design process we will follow embraces creative “free play” and experimentation, high-impact collaboration, research and exploration, multiple iterations and revisions, effective technical execution, on-going critical reflection and feedback, and professional delivery through verbal, written, and visual presentation.
Discover: The Discover stage helps to generate creative ideas and process the initial inspiration or topic. It allows designers to identify the problem, opportunity or need and provides a free, unrestricted frame-work to play, explore and experiment with a multitude of design solutions. Designers ask questions, analyze data, trends, research, form teams and other information sources, keeping their perspectives wide to allow for a broad range of ideas and influences. Methods: creative “free play” and experimentation, high-impact collaboration
Define: The Define stage is where findings from the Discover stage are analyzed, defined and refined as problems, and ideas for solutions are referenced and prototyped. Multiple channels and mediums are explored. The Define stage ends with a clear definition and presentation of the problem(s) and a plan for how to proceed. Methods: multiple iterations and revisions, intensive research and exploration, on-going critical reflection and feedback
Develop: During the Develop stage the design team refine one or more concepts that will address the problems or issues identified during the Discover and Define stages. At the end of the Develop stage, the design process will have brought the project to a stage where the product or service has been extensively critiqued and tested and is ready for delivery. Methods: multiple iterations and revisions, effective technical execution, on-going critical reflection and feedback
Deliver: The Deliver stage of the design process is where the final concept is taken through final testing, signed-off, and launched. It will result in a product or service that will, hopefully, successfully address the problem identified during the Discover and Define stage. It will also include processes for feeding back lessons from the full design process to inform future projects, including methods, ways of working and relevant information. Methods: professional delivery through verbal, written, and visual presentation, critical reflection and feedback
* Source(s): “Eleven lessons: managing design in eleven global brands – A study of the design process,” Design Council, www.designcouncil.org.uk