A design process defines every designer’s journey to think and solve a problem, it is a process that can be replicated and used for a variety of different problems from small scale products to complex services. The process has several stages and steps, and each of them can be methodized and be done regularly. In a few words, it is a combination of analytical accuracy, synthesis methods & tools, and is based around the "building up" of ideas.
This case study is to showcase the design framework we used to help create a fragrance brand for Fergie to capitalize on her appeal and star power via her unique blend of pop music and urban glamour.
Good design is never born in a vacuum, we rely on goals and inspiration to achieve the best results. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere and gathering them is essential in this early stage.
Following the defined strategy and customer persona of the brand, we will start by creating a collection of images and designs that will provide us with a reference later on. The purpose is to build a library of things that are related to the defined strategy.
The focus here is not to find the “right” solution, instead, it is to gather and expand on our message via visuals, sounds, text, memories, feelings, etc. We are simply soaking in as much as we can, and then use our next step to help reduce it down to the strongest elements. But for now, we are simply exploring.
In order to use the sources of our inspiration, we need to first analyze and learn from it. The focus here is to examine what makes each work by looking over all the nuances and intricacies of its structure. What is the aesthetic and construction in details that set it apart.
We are reverse engineering and deconstructing how the creator did this and extracting the essence of what makes that work great. The goal is to reduce all the inspirations down to 3 aesthetic boards, or points of reference that provides a common visual language for the project. The boards enable us to make thoughtful design decisions while putting pen-to-paper.
With our aesthetic map in place, we are ready to explore what is possible. We are ready to turn something intangible into an actual design.
With the initial foundation build and research complete, we start exploring different solutions. This means generating different approaches, different ways to solve the problem and communicating functional ideas into concrete forms.
The purpose of this step is to align the client’s business goal with design options considering aesthetics, cost, risk, time, etc. In order to do that, we need to present ideas as clearly as possible so team member’s can provide informed and useful feedback. We need to create a range of options from least to most expensive, from conservative to bold, to understand and pinpoint where the client is on each category that drives their decision and make sure those decisions are aligned with the business objective and the intended audience.
When presenting options, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. We learn what the stakeholders care about and where their priorities lie. They learn about the trade-offs involved and how users may react to each design. These conversations improve the design because the whole team ends up understanding the problem better. The job here is to take on the role of virtual tour guide and lead the client’s through the project’s twists and turns, ensuring that the best interests of the client are served. This goes for all design elements no matter it is the logo, the product itself or the packaging, etc.
Once a final direction has been established, is time to refine the idea and take it to a higher level of finish to get to something impactful.
If you look at any of the great thinkers or inventors of history, all of them had to refine their ideas several times to get to the final, revolutionary product. It rarely occurs on the first attempt.
The purpose here is to make slight detail modification or course correction to progress towards the final design. Everything from cost, technical capabilities, focus group feedback…etc are taken into consideration and all elements are integrated into one coherent solution to satisfy the business goal, target user and potential market place.