It doesn’t matter if you are an engineer or an artist by profession – everyone has an inner designer within their hearts. Being a designer is far more than just creating intricate logos or visuals for a business or a start-up.
We believe that a simple guide with actionable steps can help anyone to think like a designer. It all comes down to breaking down complex thoughts into comprehensible steps that anyone can follow and create personal works of art.
Design thinking and marketing go hand-in-hand. Writers are unable to create good content for designers without understanding the thought process behind it. So let’s get right to it and see how you can guide your thinking towards creativity.
Designers often have to deconstruct things around them when they create new design pieces. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in poster design, book covers or industrial design – everything starts with deconstruction.
Find your favorite logo, your childhood picture book or any other item at your disposal. Try to break it down into its elementary components by following a few simple thought processing steps:
- What is the item made of?
- Is it made out of wood, out of pixels, or maybe even paper with printed color?
- What are the common geometrical shapes, curvatures, and angles that repeat all through your item? If there are none, why is your item asymmetrical?
- Why is it made in this way in particular?
- What was the original designer thinking while they made this item?
Keep in mind that you should write down any thoughts and solutions you come up in the process of your deconstruction. Every good article, for example, started as another already-existing article.
Learning from our past experiences as content creators are just as important as focusing on the future. We can find inspiration and lessons both in our own work and the work of our peers.
Designers often look at the works of other creators, marketing agencies, popular brands, and others. Creativity and originality are simply combinations of existing components that no one has thought of yet. Don’t be shy to get silly with your responses and findings, because those are the most valuable ones you will come up with.
Ideation can often be paralleled with brainstorming. There are different ways in which you can brainstorm ideas based on the first step of your design thinking process.
For example, try to put all of your deconstructive findings onto a piece of paper. Add in any elements that are relevant to your own project and try fitting them together. You can do this in several ways, and some of these include:
- Mind mapping – Place your keywords and phrases onto the center of a paper. Start mapping out different branches that correspond with their keywords. Once you have sufficiently branched out from the center, start combining your newly found words into even more creative solutions.
- Brainwriting – Look at your deconstruction findings and grab a piece of paper while you’re at it. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind while observing those findings. Brainwriting is often called a “brain dump” for a good reason – there are no rules for right or wrong answers.
- Coach brainstorming – Find a friend or colleague that is willing to help you out. Coaching is a process in which someone asks you rapid questions in regards to an issue you face. For example, this can be the creative process you are currently working on. Tell someone to ask you questions in regards to your design thinking, the project you are working on and the terms you are brainstorming about. It usually takes around 3-5 questions for someone to come up with an “a-ha” solution to creative issues, so don’t give up prematurely!
Many professionals will tell you that the creation process of your creative design thinking is the easiest step to follow. You will need to use software such as Adobe Photoshop, online tools such as Canva or even your favorite notebook for a start.
Combine everything you have come up with, sketched and ideated about in previous steps. Choose the technique you will use according to the later application of your design project.
For example, if you are creating for the sake of creation, notebooks, sketch pads, and other drawing materials will suffice. You can later format and follow up on these notes through a professional writing service or with the help of a content editor.
Design software is needed for any creations you want to print, publish, distribute and retouch afterward. Creation is the most exciting and most rewarding part of design thinking, which is why it will make you want to go back to step one and create something else entirely.
Everyone should nurture and practice their design thinking. Just because there are professionals who work in the graphic design and art industry doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to contribute.
You never know when the next creative spark might go off. It’s important to follow through on your ideas no matter what background you come from. Chances are that you have a lot to say that others might find interesting.
Many successful freelancers often work in seemingly unrelated niches as a means to pay the bills, only to come back home and design for a living.
Follow this simple guide to design thinking and try to apply it daily – soon you will notice the improvements in your results and will want to pursue the matter further.