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Demystifying the Design Process – BDF2014 Open Studios Workshop

Here at Puree Design we really believe in the way we work, and the space in which we do it. We love Brighton’s creative and digital community and wanted to make a contribution to it. So as part of the 2014 Brighton Digital Festival Open Studios event we opened the doors to our workplace, The Skiff, and invited people to a free workshop entitled ‘Demystifying the Design Process: Sowing the S.E.E.Ds for a successful design or branding project’

The 2 hour workshop aimed to reveal and demystify the design process and help both designers, and people commissioning designers, to develop a brief that would enable them to get the most out of their next design project. With over 30 years experience in the design industry between us we wanted to share a little bit of how we work and the processes we have developed in that time.

We were thrilled to have 23 people turn up on the night, we only just had enough chairs! The group consisted of people mainly working in the creative and digital sector, some looking to gain an insight into how to get the most out of the next designer they work with, whilst others were designers themselves, both experienced and budding new talent, interested to see what goes on behind the curtains at a micro agency like Puree.

We kicked off with a quick tour around The Skiff and many expressed delight at having discovered such an open and creative space – a place to come and work with likeminded people.

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Our attendees deep in thought during one of the exercises

Once we were all settled comfortably Martine started the workshop, very swiftly moving into the first excersise – to design a logo for a Mexican restaurant called Oaxaca. Our audience seemed a little bemused, but soon set to work as instructed. The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate the importance of a good brief. With no brief at all the group felt frustrated and produced a series of clichéd designs, featuring sombreros and cactuses. At this point we provided them with the full brief; the restaurant was in fact a Michelin star restaurant, with hopes to compete with the likes of The Ivy! Now armed with a detailed brief we gave them the opportunity to redesign their logo’s and compare the difference in the results.

Over the next hour and a half we walked the group through our S.E.E.D design process, with the most emphasis on what we consider to be the most important part, the ‘Study’ stage – the stage when we build as detailed a brief as we possibly can.

Things we believe should be included in a good brief are a clear set of brand values, information about the audience and the competitors, as well as more practical information like the goals for the project, how the project will run and what deliverables are expected. The idea of the workshop was to help the group to gather this information in the most effective way.

One of the most important parts of this process is getting your head around who the audience is that you are marketing to.

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We encouraged the group to create a set of detailed audience profiles, detailing everything from their name to the kind of car they might drive. We believe that every design you create from this point onwards should always be created with this person in mind, so when creating a design ask yourself “What would Jenny from London” think of this?

We also talked about some of the problems that can arise in a design project and some of the frustration designers experience, these ranged from clients expecting designers to be mind readers, to the dreaded ‘design by committee’ situations. We believe that many of these problems, if not all, can be avoided if the right questions are asked at the start of the project.

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By the end of the workshop the group were able to take home one of our briefing documents, which they had filled out throughout the workshop. As designers they could either use this to help them get the brief just right on their next project, or as people working with designers they could use it to remind them of the kind of information a designer really needs to produce the absolute best for them.

If you were at the workshop please do join in the discussion on twitter @puree_design, we’d love to hear how you are getting on and if you’ve managed to put any of our S.E.E.D design process into practice. We’d also love to see your Mexican restaurant logo designs!

We’ve been thrilled with the positive feedback so far so maybe we’ll see you all again at next year’s festival?

If you think we might be the right design agency for your next project we’d love to hear from you so feel free to et in touch.

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