what is design?
This question is one that can be answered in different ways. In essence though, the answer must be that design solves a problem, meets a need and has the clear purpose to do good in the world. As designers we strive to make connections between people and the world around them, to create a positive change or outcome.
Design is a process which is driven by the desire to improve aspects of our lives. It seeks to balance aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability to create solutions that endure and resonate with individuals and communities. To fulfil this mission, we will collaborate and seek input from those we design for. A successful effective design will deliver an outcome that considers context and people. It will be executed with empathy and understanding and be accessible and inclusive to all.
where to begin?
When we are new to design, it can be difficult to decide where to start, how to tackle the challenges ahead. It might feel intimidating but design is a skill that can be learnt. While artwork is a creative expression with a purely subjective perspective, design is something that has a specific purpose, is created for a specific target group and it can therefore be studied, tested and understood from an objective point of view. There is always a clear objective. There are people who our designs are created for and they can give us insights and feedback which will help shape the final design and keep improving our skills.
Nothing will ever beat pen & paper ツ
Before we begin any design, we need to consider the task in hand, the content, the people its for and the overall aim of the project. Next, we'll brainstorm and come up with as many ideas and concepts as we can.
No matter how good or bad your drawing skills are right now – continue or start using your sketchbook for notes, doodles and design drafts. You will find that the best approach is to capture your idea without distraction on paper. It is quicker and easier than any other tool!
Digital tools tend to get in the way and slow us down. The immediacy of sketching on paper means we can let our mind loose and focus on only the essence of our ideas.
The best approach is to do a 'brain dump' ~ literally putting any idea on paper, there are no bad ideas ツ Even a silly idea might trigger great new thoughts and approaches and result in a new angle. And when we continue to draw until we run out of ideas, we will end up with a lot of concepts to review and a number of starting points for the new design. This collection of scribbles and notes is one we might even revisit further down the line.
This stage of sketching is not going to be the very first step when it comes to most projects. We will likely spend a lot of time initially to understand people and the problem in hand before we even start sketching. But if when we're new to this - it can't do any harm to get practising and get into the habit of note taking and drawing out our ideas. ツ
- 'Aesthetics' in web design refers to the visual appearance of the webpage. It is an often subjective interpretation of the look and display of elements in a specifically refined approach. ↵
- The 'functionality' aspect of web design is its purpose, its method of executing its expected action. It involves the implementation of features and elements that facilitate user actions, such as navigation, forms and interactive elements such as buttons, links and presentational features such as sliders. ↵
- The term 'sustainability' in web design refers to designing and developing websites with a focus on minimising their negative environmental impact and promoting long-term viability. It aims to minimise the use of resources such as energy, bandwidth, and server space by good working practices such as file compression, reducing unneccessary processes and server requests and employing caching techniques. ↵
- The term 'target group' refers to the intended audience of the web project in hand. The aim of defining a target group is to narrow down details such as type of person, age, gender, background and personal preferences and habits which will then inform the design approach and process. ↵