Graphic Design Process | The Fundamentals of Choice
The fork in the road. The wall full of post-it notes. The moleskine full of goals and dreams. The folder on your desktop packed with inspiration boards and Illustrator files titled “final_final_final.ai”. Does that sound like you? We’ve all been there. As creative people and makers, we’re constantly packed with ideas for our next product, service, or side project. Generating ideas isn’t the problem. Selecting the right one is.
Gotta Check Yourself
Tim Brown of IDEO states very eloquently that the “designer’s toolkit” includes the ability to uncover “the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” These three ways of seeing the world, often referred to as desirability, feasibility, and viability, have been used for years by entrepreneurs and designers who are looking for a way to understand whether an idea is worth pursuing or not.
This approach teaches innovators to challenge their assumptions and biases by speaking to experts in engineering, considering various business models, and taking the time to truly understand and empathize with the end user. By going through a process like this, you can successfully check yourself and make sure you are creating a solution that people want, as well as one that can ultimately sustain itself and be possible to build in the first place… but something critical is missing from the equation. Don’t get me wrong, speaking to end-users, doing your research, and talking with a bunch of smart engineers is absolutely critical. But when you base every decision on external validation, you are limiting yourself from realizing something deeply authentic to your own unique point of view.
The next time you come to a great idea as an individual or as a team, engage in a prioritization session that evaluates each concept from a desirability, feasibility, and viability standpoint, but also from a perspective that leaves room for a conversation around your personal (or collective) mission as well as your own intuition.
The Five Evaluation Lenses:
1. Desirability: My user/customer will like it
2. Feasibility: It is technically possible to see through
3. Viability: It will perform well in the market and make money to sustain itself
4. Mission: It is aligned with our greater mission and vision
5. Intuition: I just have a good feeling about this that I can’t describe
Following a generative ideation session, try this simple 3-step process:
Write each individual idea on a seperate post-it note, and place each post-it on a wall or table.
Study each idea carefully, and go through an affinity mapping exercise to organize the ideas based on their similarity. Feel free to consolidate multiple ideas or even throw out the ones that feel redundant.
Finally, go through each idea, one-by-one, and assess them through the 5 Evaluation Lenses. If you feel as though you are unable to evaluate these all on your own, turn to friends or outside experts to help guide you in the process.
Tough Decision Time
It’s important to note that a great idea is not necessarily one that meets all 5 of these criteria. Ultimately, that’s up to you to decide (as it relates to your own definition of success!), but this simple graphic design process can help shine a light on your ideas in an entirely different way to help you begin to prioritize and make those tough decisions.
Albert Einstein famously said that “intuition does not come to an unprepared mind.” What he means by this is that a hunch or gut-feeling is not something to take lightly because you only achieve those feelings based on past experiences that may have taken you years to acquire. Make 2019 the year you trust that hunch. It might surprise you.
By: Matthew Manos