I resonated especially with the first part of this reading (Visual Research by Ian Noble and Russell Bestley): focusing on asking the question “what am I attempting to achieve with XYZ project?” This is a question I don’t ask myself nearly enough: in a school based setting, many times this is briefly outlined for me, and I don’t give much more thought to it, and instead get straight into the ideation process. However, taking a detailed and methodical approach to this question is a practice that I hope, in time, will become instinctual rather than a chore.
This reading, outlines the first step of that approach: the design brief, which can be broken down into three main components.
First is identifying the field of study. The field of study is the broad context for the work to be undertaken. To work successfully on a project, a designer needs to first understand the subject surrounding the project as much as possible, which means research, research, research. It could be research about an audience, a market, competing messages, vocabulary related to the subject, and even cost implications.
After gaining some understanding about the field of study, the second component of a design brief is identifying the project focus. This step involves determining the exact intentions of the specific project within the context of the larger field of study. This can be undertaken in two ways. First is by using the context-definition model, which involves a thorough understanding of the context in order to meet a need that is found in that understanding. Second is the context-experiment model, which requires some understanding of the context, but then experimenting and prototyping multiple ideas to refine them and eventually arrive at a final solution through other failed ideas.
The third component of the design brief is identifying one’s research methodology. After taking into account the information pertinent to the project, defining a research methodology takes that information and translates it into an outline of exactly how a project will be developed. These are self-imposed rules and provide steps and a timeline to arrive at a final solution.
Going through each of these steps to develop a design brief is one way to ensure that a project is able to fulfill its needs in the best way possible. A methodical approach is one that eliminates ambiguity and provides strong framework for asking and answering questions in the most efficient way possible.
Noble, Ian, and Russell Bestley. Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design. Lausanne: AVA Academia, 2011. Print.