The development and formulation of a design requires rigorous involvement and in most of the cases follows some or the other process. The process involved should be a course of action that would make reaching the goal very much easier and simpler. Design can be defined to conceive the idea for some artifact or system and/or to express the idea in a form. It would also mean reaching the goals within constraints. Here, the goals consist of the purpose like who is the design for? What is the use of the design etc. The constraints on the other hand are the materials and the platforms to be used. Overall it is a very challenging job to create a design that is aesthetic, creative and innovative at the same time.
If the designer is gifted with artistic talent and creativity then obviously the outcome is highly enhanced. Every individual has his own methodology for approaching the problem but even then a designer or a group of designers develop a specific format which assist them in making their task much simpler. This method can then be worked upon in order to develop and improve it for the best of purposes. Irrespective of the stages in the design process there are certain factors which have to be dealt with before starting the works. Some of these may be:
- Identify the target market – The market that a firm is catering to is segregated on the basis of gender, age, social and economic segment. Here the market is a group of people or the consumers. Each market segment is going to have different requirements and expectations from a design and all of these have to be satisfied by the designer, in order to make it a success.
- Maintaining an Identity for the brand – Every company has a specific look and caters to a particular clientele. The price ranges are also fixed since generally they cater to a specific target market. All this has to remain more or less constant so that the company has a proper brand identity.
The design process in a nutshell and a very basic form may constitute of the following stages. These stages may overlap or may be treated as separate units. The designer only has the prerogative for deciding on these matters.
For starters these stages can be summarized as:
Research & Analysis
Before getting to know the problem and understanding the task, if one simply jumps into it, the only outcome is going to be a disaster. We will not have to look far before we come at a dead end. Proper research and planning is very important before starting a project, however big or small it may seem. The question that might arise here is that how much time should be devoted to this particular stage and the answer to that would be, in a proportional manner. This proportion has to be maintained keeping in mind the various segments that we come across during designing. For example in case of apparel or fashion oriented products research could comprise of an adequate study of the current fashion trends and forecast. Fashion forecast may be customized according to the clients requirement or could be even accessed through existing ones in the market.
The concept is the most important part of the design process. It is the point from where the ideas are going to start and the basic shape of the design would be conceptualized. The ideas might spring upon a designer at any moment of time. The important thing to keep in mind is that the idea or concept should gel with the market. Any discordance at this stage might put question marks later on. This stage would also require the designer to work upon the mood board, theme board, color palette, trends and the entire outline of the collection.
This is the stage where the actual work on the design starts. The physical structure, shape etc is determined and prototypes are created. The ideas and concepts decided and discussed earlier take form and shape. Thus for the first time we can see how the product is going to look like. The consumers see only the product but the success of the product and the design depends on careful and sincere planning, research and proper production decisions. In case of the fashion industry this is the stage where sampling of the designs is initiated.
Checks and Tests
The Form of the design that is almost ready will never be successful unless we perform various tests which can also be called as quality inspections at various stages of production. The quality checks examine the design from various angles like aesthetics, performance, durability, strength, functionality etc. Only a design that passes these tests and checks will be sent for the final examination; that conducted by the customer or the consumer.
Thus design and designing both comprise of an ideal blend of art, aesthetics, creativity, strategic project management, good research, wonderful analysis and mind blowing execution. After this the designs success is handed over to the retail professionals who pour in their competencies of smart visual merchandising, excellent selling skills, and brilliant advertising and promotions.
The author is faculty with Footwear Design & Development Institute, Noida.