The creative process begins with administration and acceptance. This is the first stage, where all the legal matters involving contracts and paperwork should be done. This step will determine who does what on the project, and in what timeframe. This applies to project specifics, including how you will communicate with a client, who signs-off on revisions, meeting milestones, and how to analyze a client’s problem. Step two is research and defining the problem. You must first figure out what the problem is and then tackle the research accordingly, which can be very time-consuming but vital for moving onto to the next steps. Step three is the ideation phase, which is my most favorite step, because you get to explore the many possible ways to solve the problem revealed in step two. This is probably the most time-consuming step, but get ready to learn a lot in the process. Step four is judgment and this requires even more time than most designers like to admit. In this phase, you must learn to step away from your work for a critique. This will ensure that you made all the proper changes necessary in the first couple of steps including refining and testing. As designers, we must know if our solutions will work and why. This comes with brutal honesty. Step five is the execution phase. A lot of designers, especially beginners, tend to start here without considering the first four steps, which can make this the hardest step but it really shouldn’t be. Like we said in the second step, if you haven’t identified your client’s problem, how will you know how to solve it? The last step in the creative process is feedback. This is where you need to know how to define and understand if you were successful or not. If you were successful, you need to document why, for future reference and if you were not, you need to pay close attention to what went wrong. This reflection phase will help you accommodate better problem-solving techniques and prevent recurrences like this from happening in your long-term career.
Why is this process essential? When it comes to design, there will be almost too much thought going on that as a designer, you will not know where to begin. You have to create a format as a working foundation so that your train of thought has a general focus. Without knowing your client’s background, objectives, and problems, you will not be able to take the proper steps to satisfying your client’s needs. With a creative process incorporated, you’ll be able to manage the timing and directions you need to take in order to succeed as a designer searching for the perfect solutions. And of course, there is no such thing as perfect, the creative process will not always solve our problems, but it will offer us enough input to seek out the best solutions possible and provide a thorough approach to educating our client.
I think the best fit for me in the creative process is step three, the ideation phase. Mostly because, I love to explore and sketch out the possible ways a problem can be solved. Also, because I dislike problems by nature, like most people do, but I have a passion for tackling them creatively, making the most of the process. My favorite thing to do is read and learn new things, so I feel like this step is where I belong, although all the other steps seem to generate the growth and development of a master designer as well. I like to the way Corey Skaaren stated in his conclusion on the creative process: “What are clients really paying for? I tell new clients in the beginning of the process that I’m giving them the final design for free. What they’re paying for is the time, research, experience, and process I applied to the problem so that I could solve it.” This is how I’d go about solving a client’s issue, with lots of dedicated research and ideation, which is truly worth the experience.