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Design Research: The Best Questions Follow the Answers

by Steve Zelle, Graphic Designer, Ottawa Canada

When you tell a story, a good indicator of someone’s level of understanding is the questions they ask at the end of your tale.

Graphic Design Research: The Questions That Follow the Answer by idApostle

Graphic design, logo design, and branding will always require a leap of faith. There will always be risk associated with someone developing visuals based on conversations.

The purpose of the discovery phase at the beginning of a design project is to gain understanding, context, narrow focus and remove as many potential dead-ends as possible, and to make that leap of faith easier to embrace.

Research has a bad rap as the boring part of the design process when the truth is that inspiration is uncovered through research. Potential solutions are born from the questions asked, and the answers provided. Research exposes differences in opinion between stakeholders, and the designer and client. Research ensures a client is investing in a strategic exercise and not a piece of art.

Design Research is More Than a Phase

Any designer can ask a list of questions, and every client can provide answers, transferring information. Deep understanding—and often the creative solution—is found in the questions and answers that follow.

Asking questions and digging for answers should be ongoing, continuing beyond any formal project phase. Potentially appearing as boring, and to some people unnecessary, research is a valuable tool that consistently reduces risk, increases trust, and guides the development of an appropriate solution to a business problem.


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