The 'Design Process' is a series of phases and activities that a designer follows in order to conceptualise, research, design, test, market and manufacture a design solution to a given problem. Although there is not a definitive or set design process, most designers will use a similar process to that in the figures and explanations below.
It is important to understand that the design process is cyclical and non-lineal in nature. That is, it is a process that is continually repeated in the pursuit of improving the function or quality of a product . It is not necessarily a prescriptive process that must be completed from start to finish. Each phase can be completed or revisited depending on the improvements of the product being developed or redesigned.
The Four Phases of the Design Process
01 Investigating and DefiningIn this phase of the design process the designer aims to identify the design need(s) of the client and / or end user. The designer composes a design brief and begins initial research on the client and / or end user and the product's design requirements.
02 Design & DevelopmentThe Design & Development phase of the design process represents the creative development, exploration and experimentation of design ideas to solve the client and/or end user's problem. It is in this phase that the designer sketches ideas that reference related research about the client and / or end user, explores and experiments with the elements and principles of design, materials, and media. The designer strategises which production methods and presentation techniques or manufacturing techniques best suit the final design.
03 Planning & Production
This phase of the design process concentrates on planning for production. This entails the preparation of working drawings, the documentation of the manufacturing processes and the actual production work itself.
The final stage of the design process aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the process undertaken by the designer. In this phase, the designer evaluates if the design requirements of the brief have been met, the effectiveness of the design process, and the effectiveness of the manufacturing processes. This also allows the designer to reflect on the changes that were made, why they were made and how they could be avoided in future design processes.