Designs ability to explore problems and be a tool of critical investigation has been overshadowed by its role to generate revenue. One’s design process has been condensed with emphasis and monetary value being placed on the outcome and not the process itself. Graphic design competition based websites such as 99Designs and DesignCrowd champion this scenario and reward the production of quick outcomes. This corporate influence has created an influx of homogenous concepts and imagery that have become insufficient in producing unique and engaging visual identities and narratives.
The research investigates, how can a design process of creating visual identities adopt an explorative model which encourages intuitive design decisions? This question hypotheses that when a designer acknowledges and places confidence in their individual thoughts (logical, intuitive and emotive) to justify design decisions it produces a explorative process that result in a fulfilling outcomes, both for the designer and client.
The proposed solution for this research critiques an existing design process, ‘The Double Diamond Process’ which was developed by the British Design Council in 2005. The appeal of this model is its simplicity, clearly defined stages and diversity in its use. Although this process does well at recognizing the different stages a designer progresses through, a design process is not always so linear and clearly defined. As such, this research explores how a similar model can better cater to a designer’s intuition to promote their individual creativity.
During an elective, Unconventional Publishing, I explored the possibilities of using communication design as how Adam Cruickshank describe, ‘an autonomous creative practice. Suddenly I had the freedom to explore and document ideas independently from corporate environments I was previously working. I discovered that through the process of design and the physical act of creating, I was able use these projects as vehicles for my curiosity and as a tool to acquire knowledge. This realisation highlighted the significant role that ‘researching through design’ would contribute to this investigation and prove invaluable as methodology. Further, it revealed opportunity how to appropriately critique these corporate environments and explore how by participating with such corporate influence, could result in an enriched decision making and fulfilling design process.
It was on reflection of this semester as a whole that I was able to understand that each individual outcome was a smaller response to a large problem that I was undertaking. Each design brief that I was presented was an opportunity to experiment both visually and conceptually. Although I had frustrations with branding and visual identities becoming predictable, I realised the problem lay within a designer’s participation of this issue. Designer’s must not only solve problems, but participate in asking why the question is being asked and adopt a holistic design process. As such, the outcome of this research not only questions and critiques orthodox design practices, it reconsiders a designer’s process when creating visual identities and considers the value speculative and experimentation contribute to one’s process.
The publication ‘Uncorporate Identity’ by Metahaven has acted as the primary influence and reference for the process, outcome and presentation of my research. The publication is an anthology of Metahaven’s ideas, responses and critique on corporate identity and explores themes of design, geopolitics, architecture, and branding. The appeal of this publication is that it acts a vessel to cater for different tangents of thoughts. It highlights the importance of these explorations to their design process and how vital it is in the acquisition of knowledge. It is an ideal reference for ‘Research Through Design’ as well as an example of what an anti design book that will relates to my research topic of branding.
In conclusion, by researching through design I am able to critique my own creativity process and explore how these insights could be of benefit and interest to other designers when creating visual identities. The outcome for this research is to encourage designers to place confidence in their own subconscious thoughts; intuitive, logical and emotive, and how these can be invaluable in producing unique design outcomes and narratives. By acknowledging these thoughts, designer’s can experience an enrich decision making process that places confidences in an individual's creativity and ability to produce unique outcomes.