Initial Steps for Concept Design Process

  1. Introduction

The following is a simple design strategy breakdown to be used mainly in concept design stage. Although there is no concrete answer on how is concept design generated, the information provided here are derived from professional work experience along with research to have a more holistic approach on the process.

  1. Fact Gathering

Starts by aiming to have a good idea of what the customer wants in order to begin designing. This first step can be a:

  1. Phone call,
  2. A series of emails or
  3. A face-to-face interview.

The designer may ask the client if he has any reference material or examples of Designs like the one he/ she desires. The designer may also want to do research on his/ her own. The more information a designer can gather, the more easily he will be able to satisfy the customer with a functional and aesthetically appealing design.

  1. Processing of initial finding

Once the designer gathers the facts and looks over examples of similar products, he needs to allow his creative side to kick in. This phase of the design process is characterized by 1) note taking, 2) sketching and 3) organizing the work. The designer will have the customer’s goal in mind as he strategizes on the best way to approach the project. More research may be involved as he tries to determine the best outcome for the process. As an architect, initial search for color schemes, types of materials and design style should be able to determine the overall language of the design concept.

  1. Design

A misconception of the design process by customers not familiar with it is that designers start at design. Customers need to be educated on the first two steps. If the first two steps are done well, the design process is streamlined and the results are more accurate. Next, the designer will put on paper or input into a computer the best ideas he has assembled. The customer should expect to receive at this point several fleshed out but incomplete designs for his input and approval. The customer needs to realize the designs have yet to be refined.

The design phase of the process may be repeated several times. The more options provided the more it is likely to hit the targeted goal, yet all need to be considered within a realistic time frame and a budget frame.

In this stage the outcome can be in a form of layouts options and 3d (mostly digital) models for the design, presented usually in presentation and booklet form.

  1. Refinement

Once the designer receives input from the customer on the previous stage, the refining process takes place. One design is decided upon, and the designer brings it up to industry standards so that the design can be manufactured or implemented depending on the type of design being developed. The client should give final approval in writing before the design is implemented.

  1. Implementation

The finished design is sent to the appropriate department(s) for proceeding with the next stage of design development or detailed design stages. Accurate measuring of elements/ quantities/ etc..

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