What do designers do? I ask this question to may folks, and the answer is never the same. Some people say “designers make logos.” and some say “designers make websites”. I would answer ‘yes’ to all these responses, and then ask myself what happened to good old print?
Point here is, the first decade of the 21st century is over, and the term “designer” has migrated from a paper-centric profession, to ‘a creative type that makes things that make things happen’.
Let me elaborate. Design thinking and strategy typically had a more narrow field of view. It was the scenario that if you went to school to become a graphic designer, you looked for a job doing layout, logos, and posters. It would be your job to design that advertisement or cd package for a company or band.
Now, the playing field has changed dramatically. A designers value as a professional is not solely based on the “perfectly designed portfolio”. You can have a set of fabulous designs in your portfolio, but that does not guarantee you a job. You need to sell yourself as a cutting edge, competent, knowledgeable, and indispensable professional first, then show that you have visual design skills. How valuable is ‘fabulous design’ if nobody wants it? A five minute conversation can make or break the hiring factor. Cut the fluff, and make them want it.
Now, lets get hired.
This leads to how we at Dirk+Weiss approach and strategize our projects. Each time we are asked to work for a client, a specific set of steps is planned that revolve around a specific goal.
- Brainstorm / Info Session
- Visual Sketching
- Prototype (Working Demo / Programming)
- Visual Refinement
This combination of research, visual sketching / barnstorming, and real-time prototyping make for a most efficient workflow. Typically, wireframes would be created for web projects. These wireframes would be a printed document of many, many pages. As informative as they may be, there is still an abstraction between form and content in presentation. In place of wireframing, we create web based prototypes that show information architecture, and features in context. (More on this…)
The caveat of any preliminary presentation, wireframing or prototyping, is the misconception that the project is “close to done”, or somehow the visual design of the final product is reflected. The prototype advantage is not immune to this, it just decreases the abstraction variable, and makes the whole project seem more real.
The heart of any process is a goal. Our goal is to make the design and development experience as clear, and efficient as possible, while maximizing our clients return on investment.Share