The Creative Process of a Designer

April 05, 2012

There is more to being a great designer than simply picking out beautiful fonts and color palettes, and spreading out bits of information in an aesthetically pleasing way. These are all enjoyable tasks to any designer, but the main task is to be a problem solver. Contrary to what most may believe, it can be similar to a problem in mathematics or within a science lab. The only difference is there is no such thing as one right answer. There are many different ways to solve these problems. Looking for inspiration in other visual media, working within a group of other creative minds, and looking somewhere you would never expect are all great places to start.

Problem solving in design should always begin with research. It helps to pretend you know nothing about the topic you are designing for. Otherwise you might overlook something basic, yet essential to the best possible solution. Remember to identify and research your target audience, also. Companies attract different customers by appealing to their personal tastes and sensibilities. You can, too.

The Internet brings exciting new perspectives and inspiration with just a few clicks of the mouse. Websites specific to the design community, such as the Behance Network, connect you to current design culture in a social and collaborative way. A simple Google image search might be all you need to get started. Unfortunately, it is easy to get distracted or feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available. On the other hand, it can be helpful to verge into other topics. It is here where you can come across something that provides you with unexpected ideas. A form, shape, or color may convey something to you which can provide a unique solution for your problem.

There are times when the only thing left to do is to step away from the computer. Try to arrange a group brainstorming session. Brainstorming is a good learning experience in an environment where ideas are challenged in a respectful manner. Ideas should be shared and transformed into something greater than the original thought. A type of situation that must be avoided is called ‘group think.’ This is where everyone just agrees, either to minimize conflict or because of an unwillingness to step out of a shared comfort zone. This type of group attitude slows or prevents the development of a solution. Remember to keep the feedback honest, but constructive.

These are many different ways to help in your search for a design solution. The steps listed here often provide answers for other creative activities such as writing, musical composition, or interior decorating. The keys are to always keep your mind open to new information and resources and to share in the creative experience of others.