Thoughts on Ideas

Module 1: Brief 2: Week 5.

Defining methods of thinking, curiosity, and insight.

Brief 2: Process

This week is the start of project 2, Process. How are ideas generated? What models and methods are there, and how they work for different processes?

Is there an ultimate method to produce the highest quality outcome? What do our personal processes mean to us and our work? What is our process?

When we face issues, what means do we take to break the surface to the new path we take?

Brief 2 – Week-by-week Plan:

  1. Exploration – Methods of thinking, and how designers adopt different approaches to exploring ideas and solving problems.
  2. Composition – Exploring the art of looking, seeing, capturing and recording within the design process.
  3. Research & Theory – Examining research methodologies, referencing, managing and applying your research.
  4. Reflection – Personally reflect upon your own skills, to explore where any gaps may be, and to create a new personal process model.


Susanna Edwards, Lecture

Thinking about development and problem-solving. Through science, philosophy, psychology, mathematics, there seem to be problem-solving theories that are so black and white; they are going to give you an answer. Can it be that was with design process?

The double diamond approach (1)

An approach most designers know (or have heard of). This approach to the design process is to be used to create more structure from start to finish of a project. In result, giving you the opportunity to create the best work you can.

Double Diamond

  • Discover – Phase of divergent thought – User needs are identified and the initial ideas are made; a phase of divergent thought. Keep ideas broad, anything can happen at this point!
  • Define – Analyzed, defined, and refined. – The initial ideas are developed and refined, at this point, we prepare to pitch the narrowed down ideas to show only the best.
  • Develop – Refine one or more of the concepts that address the problem or issues identified. – Design solutions are tested; the ideas have been signed off, so now we develop these ideas by testing concepts to best find the solution.
  • Deliver – Delivery stage, where the final concept is taken through final testing, signed-off, produced and launched – Final testing is being done at this point, production can begin once any issues are ironed out, and any issues during the process are addressed to make sure they won’t happen again.

Although this process is to help the smooth running of a project, it doesn’t allow for the best possible outcome for the task in hand. It doesn’t specifically relate, to the question being asked, and finding the best solution. 6 Thinking Hats (2) method approaches the issue at hand from all possible angles. Not leaving any thought or possibility unturned, and everyone involved gets a say in solving the problem. This method helps us to find a clearer solution, that’s in everyone’s best interest and in result, the most suitable option.Problem System 2

Circling back to last week where we looked at, ‘The Self & Identity‘, we looked into out System 1 (unconscious) and System 2 (conscious) responses. Susanna asks us to look at an image, this showed a very angry woman who seems to be shouting. Our System 1 unconsciously made a decision that we probably don’t want to know what she’s saying and to probably avoid her. We were then shown a problem; 17 x 24. We were asked to solve the issue. We go through our head a select a problem-solving tool we were taught when we were younger. We tense our body, our eyes focus in on the sum. This is a System 2, conscious response to working through a problem using tools we have stored in our mind.

Looking at System 1 & 2, not in who we are, but how our minds work, shines a light on the problem-solving theories we already have stored in our head. Can we have a problem-solving method for design processes that works as simply as the tool we use to solve a sum? Are they guaranteed to work every time? The double Diamond Approach; stated in the name is only a way to plan the process and not to give a definite end result.

Screenshot 2019-03-01 at 12.47.49

Karl Gerstner, a German designer, was mentioned by Tom and Kris, for his use of a morphological box in one of his books. The Morphological Box (3) is a tool that takes away options, narrowing down your final outcome. Working to give you a certain number of pathways, rather than giving you thousands of more ideas.


What is the best practice? and is there only one way to produce an outcome?

Is it best to produce hundreds out ideas, and narrowing it down? Or is it better to organize your thoughts from the off, such as the Morphological box; only producing what exactly fits into your brief?

Our systems 1 & 2 brain need to work together. These System 2 theories are key to the organization, and fulfilling the task at hand from start to finish. Although we need to produce our automatic responses, letting our unconscious design what it needs. This makes us UNIQUE. If we all followed the same rules and “theories”, all of the outcomes would be the same.

I believe this is why our most creative ideas come about when we stop asking the questions and stop pressuring ourselves. When we leave the desk and go for a walk, or eating breakfast in the morning, or letting our thoughts wander at night laying in bed. “Thinking through making, to break out of creative ruts”(4). Our mind is always unconsciously ticking away in the background and TA-DA. The best ideas are made. Letting your mind stop and letting the creativity come from inside.

Designers Process

During a conference with Tom Finn (tutor) and Daire (a fellow student), we discussed the ways other artists process and document this process. Studio Julia (5) turns a brief into a story on their site. Using both image and text, you can walk through their process by scrolling through it. Heatherwick Studio (6) has a beautifully smooth website that allows you to transition through stages of a project. From initial ideas and sketches, to prototypes, building and then the final outcome. Their struggles and dilemmas through projects are documented.


Similarly, Kellenberger-White, London based designers who document their process and research through images. Their most recent project illustrates this well. They had a brief from Goldsmiths CCA (7). The college needed a new brand identity, so their initial thought (like most of their projects) is to investigate the area. The college is built in a heritage-listed Victorian bathhouse in New Cross, South London. They work to find shapes, elements, items that surround the space to create assets for their project. With Goldsmiths you can see that happening very clearly. Taking these haphazard, overlapping holes used for piping and wires, some from the 19th century, some modern. They’ve adapted this minuscule element that would otherwise go unnoticed and transformed it into a new typeface for Goldsmiths.

Documenting a process to show development illustrates your way of thinking through a project. This made me think of a recent small project I did for Dulux Trade. The company needed a new face for their employee customer service training. This was a very simple and quick project that only needed a logo design. I spent a few hours on the project and sent over the documents. The response I got was:

“Fab Sasha! Well done, I love them, exactly as I wanted. I loved the way you have shown how the idea is developed too.”

I didn’t realize this wasn’t ‘normal’ to show development. I like to show my thinking and routes I have done down and moved away from, just in case the customer liked a route I didn’t pursue. This is a part of my ‘process’ that is key for me as a designer.


Defining methods of thinking, curiosity, and insight. There are so many processes and theories out there. Many ways of tackling problems. We have to find a way of thinking, whether that’s related to arts, design, philosophy, and science. I then have to illustrate that process with a black line drawing. These drawing can be abstract/descriptive/ diagrammatic.

Theory – Design Innovation

Screenshot 2019-02-24 at 19.56.52

Looking for an existing model that helps us currently I found a corporate-driven approach to solving problems that I feel works well for design briefs. The work-flow is illustrated step-by-step. Showing the work-flow of projects.

The Lean Innovation diagram works similarly to the Double Diamond approach, as it helps us in the process of creating. This I find is a more in-depth version of the D.D approach. This diagram shows the possible places you can be in a project, and what step is next. This what ‘To-Do’ diagram encourages the smooth process and development from the initial brief, organising ideas, to the outcome.


My ProcessScan

  1. Receive Brief
  2. Get super excited about all the possibilities, outcomes, research 
  3. Draw up multiple ideas and paths
  4. Narrow them down, and realise most of them aren’t going to work
  5. Select a path to go down and develop to make it work, (start to find the project boring)
  6. Come up with more ideas that aren’t going to work, (but they’re more fun)
  7. Coming to the end of a project get more excited about the outcome
  8. The project has finished, the outcome has been completed
  9. Find new ideas that would’ve worked for the brief

Excitement, lul, warming up again, excitement as the project comes to an end.

IMG_1749Scan 1Scan 2

I initially drew a heart rate graph, to show my excitement throughout the project. My process of thoughts going up and down. This sums it up with little information. So I thought I would draw a more in-depth diagram to show my process that I explained by bullet points. I used shapes to show my ideas and excitement. The line is to show my direction, from the start of the project to the end of the brief. The squares show all of the ideas, and the size of them illustrate how big they are. The circles and dots are my thoughts and my excitement for the project brief. Although this is a very abstract way of looking at it, it illustrates my personal process step by step.

Screenshot 2019-03-01 at 14.53.32


This week’s tasks have made me ask very important questions about how I work as a designer. Understanding what our own processes allow us to follow our rules, learn what our downfalls are, and improve them. We have different pathways from staring a brief to the outcome. Equally, we have methods to creating our ideas. I daydream my designs into life, but is that something to put in my to-do list? 

  1. Recieve brief
  2. Go on a walk and forget about it.. any ideas?

It’s not a professional way of processing ideas, but its mine and most peoples. Methods can be made by removing options and narrowing down the paths you can take. That way of working naturally makes more sense, as you waste less time on ideas that will never work. But allowing yourself to naturally produce ideas that sit within a very small box seems very difficult. I hope to incorporate this into my way of working over time.

Developing our process is something we will be doing through our whole design career. Learning from mistakes, and getting ideas from other designers. In a years time when I ask myself this question again, I think my response may be very different.



  1. Design Council. (2019). The Design Process: What is the Double Diamond?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2019].
  2. Sicinski, A. (2019). How to Solve Problems Using the Six Thinking Hats Method. [online] IQ Matrix Blog. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].
  3. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
  4. Heatherwick, T. (2018). The Ingenious Thomas Heatherwick.
  5. (2019). Arika « Julia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
  6. Heatherwick Studio | Design & Architecture. (2019). Heatherwick Studio | Design & Architecture. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
  7. (2019). Kellenberger–White — Goldsmiths CCA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].

Reading List:

One thought on “Thoughts on Ideas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s