what works.

I solve problems. I apply the same creative process to a variety of projects. What is the purpose and how can I achieve it?

I start with research. A mind map is helpful, which is a visual spread of ideas born from research and free thinking to draw connections, creating a unique and relevant vision of the concept. Research involves learning about the audience to gain empathy, which is never to be underestimated. This step allows me to define the problem.

Research Mindmap Sketch

Need some ideas? Sketch, and then sketch some more, maybe in a group!

Next, I begin sketching ideas by using the mind map as a guide. The mind map creates the concepts, but the sketches allow me to draw visual connections. “Oh, when this circle goes into that square it create a really nice effect that supports the message.”

An effective visual design must always reflect the heart of the idea. I am always solving a problem. One solution found through sketching leads to several other solutions, which is why it’s important to push myself to sketch as much as I can. Often, it’s about combining different directions into one final idea.

Example of Sketching

The slightest refinement can have the greatest impact.

Moving forward means it’s time to go digital. Here is when the preferred sketch is refined through slight adjustments. It’s important to work in black and white because if it doesn’t work in this step, it won’t work in colour. When the colours are chosen, it’s important to consider the research and how the product is supposed to be perceived by its audience.

Once complete, I test it again. I ask for other people’s opinions, and most importantly, not a graphic designer’s opinion. Observations that I never considered are mentioned, and I refine the product. Sometimes, it’s a matter of returning to the research stage and pushing forward once again. If the prototype works as expected, I complete the final product, and of course, test again.

In the final stages, details can make or break it.

Testing is necessary throughout the design process to help it stay on track. Like when writing an essay to support a thesis, a design supports the problem statement. I like to write the problem on a sticky note and stick it to the top of my sketchbook or computer screen so it's the reason I make each design decision.

Make every decision point to the goal.