The Design Process

The Design Process
Products of technology that moved people from the Agricultural Age
to our Information Age often were the result of design.
Designing is not a simple or quick task. It requires investigating,
answering questions, and making decisions. We can say that
designing is the step-by-step process of developing solutions to
problems. This process can guide you as you create design solutions
to problems presented to you.
The seven-step process is:
Identify a need or clarify the problem
Research the problem
Develop possible solutions
Choose and justify the optimal design
Develop a prototype
Test and evaluate the solution
Refine the solution/Communicate your ideas
Step 1: Identify a Need or Clarify the Problem
• What are the requirements or specifications that the solution
must fulfill?
• What are the constraints? (Items that are available/not
available, timeline, cost, materials, tools needed, energy
These questions can be answered in a Design Brief
A design brief states the problem and lists the specifications for a
design. Lets look at an example of a design brief on the next page.
Design Brief:
Problem Statement
Design Statement
Step 2: Research the Problem
• Through research, you can identify problems, issues, and
questions that relate to the design challenge
• Gather information from other people, the library, Internet. Visit
stores that sell products similar to the one your designing.
• Take measurements, collect data about different types of
materials and the performance of those materials
• Always keep the design criteria in mind
Step 3: Develop Possible Solutions
• BRAINSTORM (a process in which group members suggest
ideas out loud as they think of them)
• Look at the advantages and disadvantages of each idea
• Narrow down to a few possible solutions
Step 4: Choose and Justify the Optimal Design
• Decide on a design that best meets the specifications, fits
within the constraints, and has the least number of negative
• Good design solutions are those that work well, are
inexpensive, and cause little or no harm to the environment.
• They meet all of the design requirements within all of the
• Once you have chosen a design, be prepared to justify your
-Why is it the optimal choice?
-How does it meet your design specifications?
Step 5: Develop a Prototype
• Make either a model or a prototype of the design solution.
• A scale model can be larger or smaller than the final product. A
prototype is a full-scale, fully operational version of the solution
When might you use a scale model instead of a prototype during
the design process?
Scale models or prototypes make it easier for a designer to modify
and refine the design.
Step 6: Test and Evaluate the Solution
• Collect performance data
• Analyze your product for flaws
You should note each different factor that affects the performance of
your design. These are called variables.
Step 7: Refine the solution/Communicate your ideas
After evaluating your products design, you may want to refine your
solution. Don’t be afraid to consider new ideas at this stage. You may
need to adjust items like cost, weight, materials etc.
Communicate your ideas is the final step. This is your chance to
“show off” or sell the your design.
Your design maybe the best, but how you communicate it to the
public means a great deal.