Communication design can be described as a problem-solving process that can be broken into four steps: (1) define, (2) research, (3) develop concepts, and (4) implement solutions. Research should be a part of all design process determined by the scope and budget of the project. Concept mapping is a non-linear approach that outlines what is known, what is needs, creates associations and themes, and helps generate ideas. Good design takes time that involves generating and assessing concepts. Time is also spent editing, revising, refining , and evaluating ideas.
In conclusion, defining the design process is complicated as it has many stages and involves many steps at each stage. Complicating it further is the reality that every project is unique in its parameters, goals, time period, and participants. This chapter is meant to facilitate the beginning of how you define your individual design process by basing it on general guidelines. If you are still developing an understanding of your personal design strengths and weaknesses, allow extra time for each stage and track your time for each stage. You’ll soon discover if you fall into the category of a brainstorming, conceptual, or project development type. Conceptual designers find it easy to develop multiple concepts, but less easy to take the steps to develop them to their full potential. Project development types are the opposite — finding concepts hard to create, but developing projects quite easy. Allow extra time to discover which category you fall into and also to develop strengths in your weaker area. As you gain experience developing design projects, you will start to personalize your design process and be able to estimate how long it takes with a fair degree of accuracy. This will help you to estimate project design costs more accurately and gauge the steps needed to bring a project to a successful conclusion.
Questions to consider after completing this chapter:
- How does communication design work within the constraints of print and media?
- How does the creative process relate to strategic problem solving?
- How is the creative process related to the design process?
- What are the critical phases of the design process?
- How does project research help to define a communication problem?
- What are some examples of brainstorming techniques that generate multiple concepts based on a common message?
- How does using a metaphoric device generate concepts?
- How do concepts translate into messages within a visual form?
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