design_council

All the information you will find on this page is courtesy of the Design Council, the national strategic body for design.

There is Design in everything that your see (man-made), whether it’s been done consciously or not. So the question therefore isn’t so much ‘what is design and why does it matter?’ but ‘how can I use good design to make the world around me better?’

How is design different from other activities?

Design makes your ideas tangible, going from an abstract thought/inspirations into something concrete. A designer doesn’t just think and then translate those thoughts into tangible form, they actually think through making things. This ability to make new ideas real from an early stage in developing products or services means that they have a greater chance of becoming successful more quickly. Designers are sometimes caricatured as being self-obsessed, but the truth is they are passionate about the end user of the product or service and how they use/interact with it.

The process of designing, then trying them out with users means that design has a particular ability to make things simple. Anything that is too complicated to understand or communicate is soon exposed. Perhaps this is why really great design can seem as obvious as common sense.

How do designers design?

Every designer has a slightly different approach and different design specialisms also have their own ways of working, but there are some general activities common to all designers, which can be divided into four distinct phases, Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

Discover: This covers the start of the project. Designers try to look at the world in a fresh way, noticing new things and seeking inspiration. They gather insights, developing an opinion about what they see, deciding what is new and interesting, and what will inspire new ideas.

Define:The definition stage, where designers try to make sense of all the possibilities identified in the ‘Discover’ phase. Which matters most? Which should we act on first? The goal here is to develop a clear creative brief that frames the fundamental design challenge to the organisation.

Develop: Where solutions are created, prototyped, tested and iterated. This process of trial and error helps designers to improve and refine their ideas.

Deliver: Where the resulting product or service is finalised and launched.

How do organisations use designers?

Design should be used at every level of the business from high level strategy, helping to find new opportunities for growth, to detailed implementation, ensuring that every experience that a customer has is as productive and engaging as it can be.

The key to using design effectively at any level is the creative brief. The brief defines the challenge, the problem to be solved, the opportunity to realised. Writing an effective brief is a creative exercise in its own right. This brief is then tackled by a chosen design team.