Designing with a purpose ( A step by step guide)

Published: 16 October, 2018

Categories: General

Designing with a purpose ( A step by step guide)

“Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”  - Charles Eames

Designing without a purpose is like travelling without a map.  You might end up aimlessly wandering around without getting anywhere or achieving anything of significance.  Having an avid interest in both design and travel, I believe the travel experience can be closely related to the metaphorical “journey” of the design process.  The following steps could serve as a map of sorts for the designer seeking their passport to success:


The first step in the design process is to identify the target audience.  Who are you designing for?  A target audience shares similar needs and characteristics, knowing these will help you communicate more effectively through your design.


Be specific.  Define the problem by focusing on the target audience you have identified.  Ask questions and gather information that will be helpful towards getting solutions to the problem.


Now that you know what the requirements are, start generating ideas.  In this stage allow yourself the opportunity to come up with as many ideas as possible before you start narrowing down which of these could be most effective.


The next step is to make a prototype of narrowed down ideas to get an understanding of its limitations or potential for improvement.


Finally, test the ideas that have been identified as the best solutions so far.  This will help to alter and refine your ideas and give an even more informed understanding of the needs and point of view of the target audience.


As anyone who has done travelling might know, sometimes the greatest discoveries can be made in the most unexpected moments.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of only seeking inspiration in the obvious, the ‘tourist attractions’ already known to us.  For this reason, in my opinion, the design process should serve as a guideline rather than a rigid step-by-step guide to creativity.  In whatever way you choose then to implement the process, inspiration usually only comes once you get started.  So, start designing and enjoy the detours along the way!


Written by

Ginomi Kilfoil