The creative process

Ah the creative process is the same secret in science as it is in art.

They are all the same absolutely.

A wise man by the name of German artist Josef Albers once said this, and right he was. All in all, what Albers was saying is that the creative process is, by-and-large, the same. The reality is that the process is largely the same whoever is doing it, what changes is the way we approach the steps. Depending on what we want to achieve, the emphasis we give each stage, or the elements within them, is what varies.

Design practices the world over like to put their own spin on “their” process (and so do we!) using different subtlety different structures and words to describe each phase.  However as Albers suggests, they are actually all, by and large, saying the same thing.  Describing it differently is not a differentiatior. In simple terms, the best presentation remains The Squiggle which tells more the story of a process that moves from a degree of chaos to a single refined idea and solution.

The Squiggle explained

What matters more, in our view, is what you actually do in these stages and the philosophy you bring to the process.  The names don’t really matter.

Our belief is in putting people front and centre of the process and using behaviour sciences to support this.

This means our focus is often in the early stuff…before we put pen to paper and “do design”.  It is the design research around people’s behaviour and user needs that we start with.  The understanding of these needs is the foundation upon which everything else happens.  Get that wrong and it doesn’t matter how much creativity you put in later on or how beautiful the solution is, it won’t work, customers won’t like it, and you won’t deliver value.

Extrapolated from various sources including research from NASA, there is evidence on the increasing cost of finding problems and fixing them the later you get in the design and development cycle. Discovering that the users’ needs are different to what you originally thought or that a concept won’t work is all better discovered and corrected early on.  The relative costs of changing course once you start building or are in the market are exponentially higher.

By investing in user research early in the project not only are you more likely to be left with an improved and more intuitive design, but your design will solve a true need for the user. At CCD we put the user at the centre of everything we do, and this means we develop not just a better solution, but the right one.


Stephanie Clarke

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