Whether in an interview or an everyday conversation, the question that I often get asked is what constitutes my design process. Most people tend to consider the design process as a template, following which, they believe they will become a better designer. This is a massive sham, the truth being that any design process is nothing but an approach or an approximation that doesn’t however accelerate one’s creativity.
Creativity is a function of imagination and observation. In mathematical terms, it’s directly proportional to it. There are infinite possibilities of solving a mathematical problem and the same is applicable to the problem of design. In fact, this is a problem that I’ve addressed from several tangents, with each project that I’ve undertaken throughout my career.
If I have to explain my process at all, here is how I approach design: initially I tend to look at the problem as if it’s the first time I’m approaching it. This element of not having a profound insight into a project right in the initial stages, has in fact helped to bring in a new perspective.
The process of design thinking starts from research. It’s important for me to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. What is the project about and why are we designing what we are designing.
Moreover, when it comes to deriving inspiration for something new, my sources are often the regular material objects that meet the eye, such as paintings, architecture, book covers, movie posters, title design of movies, newspapers, music, etc. I never browse the internet to gain an original conception.
When it is about replicating a known behaviour or pattern, I research on the popular apps and how these problems are tackled. In this scenario, I do not aim to reinvent the wheel.
Furthermore, when designing I don’t always adopt a human centric approach, but rather a circular design of approach. This statement perhaps requires a further explanation: For instance, while Uber seems to have solved the commute problems, it has also contributed to an increased traffic, apart from the elevated air and noise pollution. The solution to one human problem then seems to come at a colossal expense. The circular design on the other hand, takes into consideration all the touch points which the design will affect, such as humans, organizations, behaviour, environment, mental and physical health, etc. This design practice then exhumes a factor of sustainability and accountability.
One can invest 100,000$ on a college course to learn something, while alternatively, they can also visit a library, spend a dollar per month to read books and procure the same knowledge. Both methods bear results, thus establishing that it’s only a matter of personal preference as to how one would approach something. Any UX or design process is also just an approach. These processes however don't inflame creativity, for creativity is not a template and can never be.
This opinion comes from a personal point of understanding. However, differences in opinion are always present and I would love to know what anyone else thinks of the design process.
by Suvo Ray
Published: 16th Sep 2021