Designers are not born, they are trained

by aishyza

Everyone is born creative. Designers just train themselves not to lose it. Of course some people master creativity faster than others but at the end of the day, it boils down to practice. By training yourself to come up with creative ideas (in baby-steps), you might gain what David Kelly calls, creative confidence and break away from the fear of being judged. I’ll bring you through a systematic thought-process method which is probably nothing extraordinary. I just like it because works ;)

1. Know yo’ shit

Golden rule of design, like many areas of study, is to have the user in mind. When you ask the client what kind of design they want, 99% of the time, the answer will be “fresh”, “looks good”, “attracts attention”. In short, they don’t know no shit and that’s YOUR problem. YOU have to figure out what they don’t know. Like a mind-reader, interpret what they want. Like an investigator, pick out some clues. Like a journalist, interview the client and end users.

What we wanna do is to create a funnel to make the ideation process more effective. This will increase chances of hitting the bulls-eye in meeting the clients’ expectations. So what does this funnel entail?

Client objectives

Target Audience

Company Culture

  • values/personality (check their corporate identity)
  • hierarchy (vertical or flat)

2. Find some shit

Once you are clear with 1. yo’ shit, the next step is to generate ideas – note: with the funnel in place. Two general ways to do this, and you should use both, in no particular order.

Storyboards – squeeze your brain a bit lah

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 2.29.48 AM

These are ideas, concepts, how wild they can get – just pen them down. I found a nice set of concept ideation sketches by Linda Lam from the US. The idea here is about churning out enough quantity so that you squeeze out all the cliche ideas and get to a unique one. The better you get, the more streamlined the process becomes.

Pin boards – my shortcut method

The say the best creatives are copycats. There is a reason why ideas are not patent-able ;) What I usually do is to just browse through some websites to get inspiration of images that resonate with my client’s image or the concept I have in mind. Start with Google, then move on to stock photos and artistic communities like deviantart or stalk boards on pinterest. My personal favourite is creattica, because of its professional edge. The mood board below is one that I did to re-design the website for N-House.


3. Cook that shit – create ‘aha’ moments

This is where the creative mind gets put to the test. Lay out all the ideas and start marrying them! A creative idea is always a child born out of the marriage of two(or more) already existing ideas. Knowing which ideas are compatible, finding ways to combine, sparking a totally new idea – these are the few skills to pick up in this phase. Sketch the final prototype and see the final product for yourself. Gosh, wished I didn’t have thrown my sketches away :(

4. Now you are ready to start on your artwork!


website prototype

I wanted to make this article short n sweet, enough info to give a good foundation and hopefully some insights. I’m pretty new to this blogging world and still trying to figure out the optimal amount of content and depth. Feedback is always welcomed :) Thanks!

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Design Thinking by IDEO