How to Deign? People often ask this question. “Designers always follow ‘Design Process’!” is also something that we often hear. Designers start from scratch and bring it to blue prints (ready to production files). Be it a student project or a professional project, designers use different methods to understand and explain their concepts. Methodologies and techniques has been varying over time. In digital world we have 3D modeling software where we can turn our ideas to virtual reality from a concept on paper. We as a designers think a lot. We generate ideas. CAD software did changed the design methodology. Now the first thing designers do just after finishing concept sketches is start building 3D model on software. But because of this very change in process, most of the concepts just end-up being a good looking render and often miss out physical validation. We think it imaginary, we sketch it 2D and we design it virtually. In all this process we often forget the most important thing in design process which is building prototypes (mock-ups).
Why to make mock-up?
We as a human tend to understand and feel physical shapes more than anything. Making a quick mock-up will help designers understand and evaluate their concept. Hands-on knowledge, is the best learning method because with persistence one becomes intimately familiar with subject matter. Making and using something usually triggers ideas for how to make it perform better or cost less without sacrificing functionality. Model can be also a very good source to explain your concept.
Old school days
We all have had lectures in our school days where mostly we used to listen, read books and give exams. But remember those weekend activities where we used to make something. Be it a puppet, kaleidoscope, science project or telescope. We used to find best substitutes and make models. The fearlessness of using materials and being able to feel the product was the beauty of the process. Making model was like reliving the inventions itself.
Always Start Small
“Creativity is having ideas without being afraid to fail”
Don’t plan and think much. Sketch your ideas, make proportion and basic detailing right. Making your concept physical in early stage will help you understand and clear about the design next approach. People say making mock-ups and prototype cost you, but you can make it cheaper. Make your first prototype quickly out of whatever materials are at hand. Whether it’s a paper, cardboard model, clay or thermocol, making your idea less abstract will help you improve it.
lt’s always good to fail early stage
“Fail faster to succeed sooner”
Quick mock-ups on a very early stage help you to discover where your concept is going and how it is going to work. It is always better to fail on a very beginning stage than realizing at an end stage. You have always time to step back and rework on concept if problems are found on early stage. When you’re trying new things, failure is inevitable. Accepting that failure is part of the process is key
Make it a topic for discussion!
Discussion is the only way to get ‘Proof of Concept’
Making quick models is an experiment that you are doing. That way, it doesn’t seem so precious that they can’t give you honest feedback. Some problems are so complex or intricate that it’s impossible to simply conceive the right solution. Reducing the scope helps make it more manageable; developing an example of the end solution. Something tangible that others can comment on and augment helps advance the process and enhances collaboration.
To take an idea, implement it, and fail at its inception is only a failure if one doesn’t seek help, ask questions, will not listen or contemplate suggestions, and then takes no action to resolve, improve, or innovate. Hands-on experience is how one integrates knowledge to gain mastery and eventually become an expert.
Showing the possible solution as opposed to talking about it is far more powerful. In most cases they look like a rat’s nest of wires but to the end-user they see the process and end results. They always fine-tune the final solution anyway and it creates a leap over many miss-perceptions from the “talking phase” and creates the “Oh, I get it now!” comments. This process will help you get ‘Proof of concept’
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Design can not be done in isolation”
Design cannot be done in isolation. Don’t assume you have to do everything yourself. Just explaining your idea to potential collaborators will help clarify it and asking for assistance invites others to build on your idea.
Digital media has become a powerful tool in recent time, the good news is that it’s getting easier for ordinary folks to make stuff. Handy smartphone apps allow you to shoot and edit videos in a snap. New CAD tools, scanners, and printers, which are this close to becoming widely accessible and affordable. So gather larger audience, initiate discussion, ask question and do a team work.
So are working on a project? Well start building something now! You’ll see the difference. Best of luck!!