Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that there are four main contributors to a successful design project: Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration.
Creativity & Critical Thinking Begin with You
Of course, with any art related project, one must utilize creativity. You don’t have to be a professional artist working in traditional mediums to be creative. The key to creativity is constant exposure to stimulating visual content for inspiration. So start researching artists and designers that have a design style that YOU admire and truly appreciate! This research will give you more understanding of your own creative style: anywhere between classically clean or more abstract and modern. Knowing your style will enable you to be a better designer for yourself and, of course, your clients.
Being able to think critically towards a design problem is also important. Part of the battle is knowing what tools you have, understanding how those tools work, and when they are best utilized.
Through constant research and inspiration you will begin to think more critically and creatively when faced with a design problem.
Communication is Crucial
The professional relationship that exists between designer and client is dependent on communication. A designer should keep the client updated throughout the design process with regular progress reports and updates.
In my own work, I do an initial design brief. This brief outlines what I plan to do for a specific project and what will be required from the client to achieve the goal design (this also ties in with the aspect of collaboration).
Once the design brief is completed the designer can begin working on a proof (essentially a first draft of the design).
If there is a breakdown in communication then that will show through the design process. This miscommunication will make for a difficult project, one with increasing design time and multiple proofs.
The brief aims to cut down on design time and make the design process easier for both parties involved.
Creativity & Collaboration Work Together
The third aspect that creates a successful design is collaboration. Yes the client is essentially coming to the designer to provide a service and the designer should be an expert in the service they are providing. That being said, if you were to look up the word “expert” in a dictionary, mindreader would NOT be a synonym.
Design work requires a “meeting of the minds.” Much like the purpose of the design brief,
collaborating with the client will cut down on the guess work involved for the designer.
Imagine you want a birthday card designed, in this scenario let’s make it for your son, Hunter. The designer asks the When, Where, Who, What Time questions. You answer all and are told to expect a proof the following day. Before leaving you mention that your son loves the color blue.
You receive the proof the following afternoon and are disappointed. The color scheme is in shades of light blue but your party decorations are shades of dark blue. Now this won’t be difficult for the designer to change but could’ve been avoided during an earlier stage of the process by either party (designer asking a more specific question, or the client stating the use of a particular color instead of simply saying”his favorite color is blue.”