My Non-Award-Winning Design Process

The recent incredible Draplin logo design process video from Lynda.com really got me thinking about sharing my design process (or lack thereof) with y’all. I think it’s really important that other designers share their processes as we all have different styles. Some may resonate with others. Aaron’s process was exceptionally inspiring and completely different from mine. so, here goes.

Design things in the order in which you are motivated.

Starting the design process can be incredibly intimidating. A lot of people struggle to know how to start a design. You hear from a lot of people who are sticklers about beginning the process with sketching, wireframing, conducting user interviews, looking at inspiration, going out in nature, joining a cult, and so on. I’ve simply had a hard time saying that one, and only one, method is where I start my process. It works best for me to wait patiently for a surge of motivation to come about a particular piece of the design process. I might be out drinking at 12am when I get a random surge of color inspiration. I’ll gasp and run over to my computer to quickly put together color palettes for a project that I haven’t yet started. Hours later, the sun comes up and I’ve finished an initial concept that I love. The key: motivation. I was so excited that I spent hours, which felt like minutes, working on the design.

If I find myself working on a design that I’m feeling bummed about. I’ll stop, do something else, and wait patiently for the motivation and excitement to come back. It always does, just not at the most opportune times. However, the final product is always worth it.

Oftentimes this means you’ll have to design out of the standard “by-the-book” order. Whatever, man! If you’re excited about designing a Twitter avatar before you’ve even started on the logo. Do it! Maybe this is where the mobile first technique came from. A guy who got excited about designing for mobile while taking a shower. “But I haven’t started on the desktop site yet!” he exclaims while lathering. “Screw it! I’m designing mobile first.”

I’m just saying, don’t worry about a concrete process. Let the motivation and excitement of inspiration guide you through the design work. Or don’t. It’s up to you.