Notes from: The A-Z of visual ideas – How to solve any creative brief

This beautiful book by John Ingledew aims to ‘brainjack’ readers and lead them to a world of inspiration. Ideas emerge when you look at a challenge from different perspectives, and these a-z concepts help in finding them.

Some of my favorite quotes are:

“What are ideas? An idea is a sudden mental picturing of possibility – the realization that there is a possible way of doing something.”

“Imagination is the part of the mind where ideas are sparked and received, to transform inspiration into something new.”

“Other languages and cultures also have terms for fresh and exciting ideas…. Italy… ‘third horizon thinking’ and in France they have ‘jumped from one river bank to another’ while in China… ‘ideas that jump out of the frame’… Brazil… ‘from the magician’s top hat’.”

“It is necessary to hold two seemingly opposing requirements in the mind at precisely the same time.”

“Philosopher John Dewey said ‘A problem well stated is half-solved’.”

“Creativity should be like child’s play – truly pleasurable.”

“Ideas often solidify when we are not actively thinking.”

Another interesting element the book recommends, is to use a list of random questions to generate new ideas. Josh Harrison has a very nice interface that leads to a random question every time you click on it. You can also download an App in certain countries.

A crash course in design thinking

I was so pleased when a colleague pointed this resource out to me.

D School in Stanford found an interesting way to let people who are not familiar with the concept of design thinking engage with the whole process in one hour. This video shows the full process and gives you time to try it out yourself, as well as provides resources you can use to facilitate such process.

The topic is “redesigning the gift giving experience” that I thought was very cool, however, at parts I wondered whether it is a bit too vague to deal with. Guiding the participants through the empathy stage though was very interesting and inspiring to me.

Anyway, enjoy the experience and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it too.

A comparison of Design Process Diagrams and attitudes

As designers, we are taught to follow the design process in order to find solutions to complex challenges. However,this process seems to be described in many diverse ways.

In this post I collected a few approaches taken to describe the design process. My aim is to better understand the emphasis and variety of angles taken in describing what may essentially be the same process. Hopefully, this will also allow me to offer an alternative way to describe the process.

#1. The Iterative “Step by Step” models

These models represent a set of actions to be followed sequentially, and suggest that the process is continues – when you reach a solution, you can probably make it better by following the process again. It is interesting to note the different actions the models highlight in the process:

Hugh Dubberly’s representations of Kobegr’s models

One 2 One Media Solutions

Global Ideas

Mint Creative Solutions

 

#2. Stepping back

The following models introduce are simmilar to the first group, however, they add arrows going back as well as arrows going forward. This implies that the steps are introduced sequentially, however, are revisited and refined throughout the process.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Hugh Dubberly’s representations of Kobegr’s models

#3 The design process as more complex interactions between activities 

As described so nicely by Typographic Design – Form and communication (fourth edition): “…perhaps it is more helpful to think of the process as five fields of activity that overlap each other in a multidimensional environment of intellectual discourse. The process is not linear; rather, it is one of interaction and ambiguity where paths appear to meander aimlessly towards durable and innovative solutions.”

Typographic Design – Form and Communication

“A holistic approach to design requires attention to all three areas during every phase of the project. If we spend too much effort in any single area, we put our potential for success at risk.” – UX Magazine

IDEO’s model from MWO blog

#4. Partial iteration

Some models describe the prototype section as an iterative part of a linear process.

Emma Whiteside

Ponoko using a model from PBS design squad program 

Fictiv

 

#5 Re-framing the process

Design thinking process description from “Designing for Growth” by J. Liedtka and T.Oglivie, taken from Ingo Rauth’s website

#6 Highlighting user-feedback

Diana Stutz Design

 

#7 Using the term ‘design’ to express only a part of the process
In some cases, the term ‘design’ does not capture the whole process but rather refers to parts of it.

 

Brannen

Graphics and Templates

PRD UK

After exploring some of the different attitudes towards communicating the design process, I share Benton Barnett’s notion that describing the process in boxes may be a bit far from reality:

Benton Barnett

However, I’m not giving up on trying to find a way to communicate the process in a way that would be meaningful to me and will hopefully make sense to others.

* What is your design process? Did you identify different attitudes towards describing the design process? Please add your comments or send me a message so we could continue the conversation. Thanks!

Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling

This is one of my favorite TED talks! You really can’t help but smile…

I usually use this video as an example for the use of PREZI, which, if you are not familiar with it, is a presentation tool that seems to be used more widely everyday.

Many desperate PowerPoint casualties are seeking a change, a way to visually communicate their ideas in a non-linear manner. PREZI is proving to be the answer for many of them.

What PREZI offers is basically a large canvas into which you can insert text, images and other media. You create a presentation by marking the areas you wish to zoom into on your canvas, and the order in which you want to zoom into them. PREZI then creates a zoom-in and out movement between those areas when you present. This particular function is what captures most viewers in the first minute, and makes them totally sea sick for the rest of the presentation in most cases… This unique ability had also granted it the glorious nickname “PowerPoint on Steroids”.

Like in the video above, some presenters create a presentation that uses a full zoom out function at the beginning or end of their presentation to demonstrate the relationship between the different parts of the presentation.

Due to this function, PREZI is considered to be less “linear” than PowerPoint. However, I find that using PREZI on presentation mode,the “linear” aspect is exactly the same as it is in PowerPoint.

So, if I try to summarize what I think PREZI’s pros and cons are, this is it:

Pros: working on a PREZI presentation invites the presenter to think about the relationship between the different parts of their presentation. This is due to the fact everything is laid-out on one large canvas.

Cons: The transitions are incredibly destructing and it is very easy to create a BAD experience for your audience.

I’m looking forward to the day PREZI will make their transitions more seamless!

Until then, we can smile anyway (or eat a lot of chocolate…) enjoy the video!