Design is not just appearance

Design is about achieving goals; awaken interest and identity.

To ensure a good design, deliverables must be  clearly defined. When a specification has been created it becomes possible to design for efficiency and make sure that the design achieves the set goals.


First Step: The Design Brief

The first step is to create a  design specification – the creative brief. This will make clear what the purpose and parameters are for the design.

1. Define the assignment

The client provides a short description of the nature of the assignment, and what goals are to be achieved. This gives me an idea of what needs to be achieved.

2. Specify parameters

When the initial description of the assignment is at hand, we can arrive at a common understanding of the project. I ask questions and the client answers and we document the discussion.

Sample questions:

Describe the company and its products.
Who is the target audience?
Who are the main competitors?
How does the company work?
What three things are absolutely important for customers to understand about the company?
What three things should the company not be perceived as?
What should the design accomplish?
What feelings and reactions should be awakened within the target group?

3. Background material

An important part of the process it to capture any existing  ideas, suggestions and other background material.

Sample questions:

Are there an already existing creative ideas?
What initiatives that are underway or planned?
Which other designs does the product relate to?
Who has more information or requirements?

Step Two: Project plan

It is important that the client and I are in agreement about how much time each step should take and how we communicate about the proposals and at what time certain decisions are taken.

1: Basis for discussion

I create a number of sketches based on my interpretation of the the assignment objectives.

Sketches are uploaded to Dropbox.

The client provides feedback within the agreed time, and a design direction is agreed on.

2: Selection of expression.

Based on the decided design direction, I develop one of the sketches into a proposal.

The proposal is uploaded to Dropbox.

The client provides feedback within the agreed time.

The design proposal is finalized.

3: Discussion and decision

Clarifications and presentation of the finalized proposal is done via a Skype call.

We document the discussion.

The client provides a go-ahead within the agreed time.

4: Final design is reviewed by the client 

The final design is uploaded to Dropbox by the agreed date.

The client examines the previews and accepts within the agreed time.

5: Delivery

The originals are delivered in required file formats to Dropbox.

When the project plan has been created, we have agreed on the scope and process, the design process can begin.

Step Three: The creative process

The following is an example of a logo I created for a consultancy company.


Here is a sketch I got from a client, a hand-drawn image, an idea.



I then created a basis for discussion:

The client wanted to see a couple of suggestions on their primary idea – with the backward turned letter D. Variation on the client’s theme as well as some new ones. My suggestions.
   primary variations suggestions

The final result

An IT consultancy firm wanted a logo that depicted their creativity, confidence and courage. In this design the conservative font with serifs meets the unexpected in the displaced dots. The combination of the different elements contributes to its playfulness.