Design Process

The standard design process is normally described in four stages that basically work like this:

Research –> Ideas –> Development –> Final Piece

The process is intended to be fluid so that you can return to previous stages if necessary and rework your ideas or do more research if needed. The point, as I understand it, is to give a process and structure that you can work to so as not to miss out any of these important stages.

However, whilst I do feel the four stages are relevant and important, I think the structure of the process is far to linear to properly allow for creativity. I have, therefore worked out my own, more organic process that i feel suits my personal way of working better and seems to make more sense to me.

My idea is that a design process is like a tree. You are trying to get from point A to point B, or in other words from the cause (a brief or inspiration) to your final solution (whether it be a finished product or not). To do so you have a direct line like the trunk of a tree. This represents the methodical, logical research process that is structured around your subject matter. From this structure can form your ideas which, like the branches of a tree, can sprout from any part of the trunk. They are ultimately trying to get to the final point, but the route they take may go off in a completely different initial direction. they may lead to separate ideas, lead back to the research, prove to be successful or fail to reach the final target. Together these form a framework for experimentation and work, which are like the leaves of a tree. While it is important for the ideas and research to be solid, like a tree in winter it is bare without the leaves that represent the experimentation and work that results from the ideas and research.