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19th October 2016

Solving Problems Through Effective Design

Do you assume design means creating something that’s good to look at? Think again… design is a complex process which encompasses many elements in order to reach the final destination (and final sign off from the client!).

While an essential element of design is to make it aesthetically pleasing, it’s not a single, deciding factor or end goal. By examining and getting a better understanding of what, how, when, to whom the design is benefitting, you gain a better understanding of the brief and create a more effective and accomplished end product. In analysing, and solving all the questions involved in the process, you are contributing to a great design, as well as meeting your clients needs.

Designers are essentially problem solvers, interpreting and clarifying problems through design thinking.

Deciphering design briefs means adopting a different approach to traditional problem solving. A designer needs to not just be methodical, they must also expand to be both flexible and innovative. A designer must examine different perspectives in order to come up with different solutions to meet the client’s needs.

Defining the problem is one of the most important parts of the design thinking process – it gives the designer the right direction to explore. Asking the right questions means you can finally think about the possible solutions. It is important to have several options because a problem will always have more than one solution. You can then decide on which solves the design problem more effectively.

The Breakdown of the Design Thinking made by The Stanford D.School helps to visualise how this process can be utilised:

  1. Empathise – Understanding your audience
  2. Define – Establish a point of view
  3. Ideate – Focus on possible solutions
  4. Prototype – Try out multiples solutions
  5. Test – Find the best solution for your audience

Using this process we can see that defining the problem is just the first step to meeting your clients needs. Understanding that the design is there to solve a question is the first step, you can then proceed to the next steps of understanding, establishing and finding the best solution for your client and audience, and wow them with your designs!

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