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Design Methodology: Unveiling The Art Of The Design Process

May 11, 2024 | Rural Handmade

In the intricate world of Designing where never-ending creativity and detailing is the key to long run success, we today dive into the process or the way design comes into reality. It represents a journey through understanding, ideation and constant refining. We will uncover its nuances, unravelling its mysteries and celebrate the process that fuels passion and creativity.

Double Diamond Method

Before we delve into it, we shall familiarise ourselves with the Double diamond process, a highly acclaimed approach that epitomizes the systematic yet fluid nature of the design process. The design framework features two diamonds: a diamond that represents the problem and a diamond that stands for the solution.

This is an iterative process and involves 2 diamonds, the first diamond on the left-hand side is used for initiating the project research and defining the research to specific pointers. The second diamond is used for developing concepts and bringing those concepts to reality. This is an iterative process which allows a designer to go back to previous step, rework on the specific point and progress ahead on the project easily. 

We'll explore five key areas step by step

  1. Project proposal

Your project proposal should summarize your project details and sell your idea. It can be of two types

  • Solicited proposal 

Solicited project proposals offer an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of client needs. Unlike unsolicited proposals where the proposer initiates the project idea and pitches it to potential clients or stakeholders, a solicited proposal is requested by the client. By adopting a client-centric approach, defining clear objectives, and presenting a well-thought-out proposal, you can navigate the intricacies of solicited proposals with confidence and professionalism. 

  • Unsolicited Proposal

Like said before, the proposer initiates the project and pitches into the potential clients. The proposer here being designer, organizer or studio. unsolicited proposals are proactive attempts by the proposer to introduce a project idea, product, or service to the client.

Based on the type of proposal a lot of changes take place in the further process of the project. For e.g. If the proposal is from client the time frame is limited or is set by the client (6 months or 1 year) where as if the proposal is from the designer, then the time frame is decided based upon the extent of the project (as R&D involves a lot of time investment).

Proposal when accepted leads to project contract.

Project contract entails the whole essence of the contract. It is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of a project or service engagement between two parties, typically a client and a service provider. It's essential to draft a project contract carefully, ensuring that all terms are clear, fair, and mutually beneficial for both parties.

  1. Project Initiation & Research

Project initiation and research are foundational phases that lay the groundwork for successful project execution. It lays the foundation for successful development and completion of a project.
These 5 are the major steps which we as a designer have to work on intensively in order to make the project a perfect fit for consumer, market and the industry. These steps define the overall course of any project. 

  • Market Research


Market research is a systematic process used to gather, analyse, and interpret information about a market, including understanding the dynamics of potential customers and competitors. Market research consists majorly of two domains quantitative research and qualitative research. qualitative means quality over quantity wherein we gather quality data from specific number of people. Quantitative is gathering data from as much people as possible in order to get overall idea of perception of people and their understandings. 

  • Project study

A project study, often referred to as a feasibility study, evaluates the viability of a specific project before significant resources are committed. It helps stakeholders understand the potential risks and rewards associated with the project, enabling informed decision-making. It helps in determining whether the project should proceed, be redefined, or be abandoned based on its feasibility and potential for success.

  • Trend study

While a project study is typically more focused on the feasibility of a specific project within a defined scope, a trend study looks broadly at market or technological trends that could impact an entire industry or multiple projects over time. Trend studies are widely used in marketing, product development, and strategic planning.


  • Critical Appraisal

A critical appraisal is a systematic evaluation of projects to assess their validity, results, and relevance before applying their conclusions to a particular context. This again helps to make informed decisions.


  • Design Brief

A design brief is a comprehensive written document for a design project developed. It clearly outlines the objectives and expectations of the project, ensuring both the client and the designer understand the scope of work and the desired outcomes.

          Let’s see a sample study of a design project to further understand this where we are designing a breakout Furniture for corporate office which aid wellness and wellbeing of Gen Y and Gen Z in the workplace.

This Design brief clearly outlines the objectives and understands what the audience or customer wants. Thus, the design is well based on research and encapsulates everything a user actually expects. This makes sure that the designer knows the market he is targeting and  is well informed through his research analysis.

  1. Product Development

Product development is a comprehensive process involving the ideation, design, creation, and marketing of new products or improvements to existing products. Effective product development is crucial for companies to stay competitive and grow, as it involves not only generating new ideas but also systematically converting these ideas into commercially viable products. Product development entails a series of steps. It becomes clear that ideation is the vital or the prominent part of product development. We will further discuss the keys components of product development.

  • Inspiration board and mood board

An inspiration board and a mood board are both visual tools used in design and creative processes, but they serve slightly different purposes. While inspiration board contains close up images which has intricate details that inspire and spark creativity, Mood board is a curated set of visuals that sets the atmosphere and mood of the project. It's more focused than an inspiration board and aims to capture the overall look and feel of a project or concept.

  • Ideation

Once we set the mood for the project, It is time to let the artistic process to stimulate our creativity. Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and refining ideas. It involves constant refining of ideas. Picturising these ideas is the vital part of the process. The ideas that are in 2D forms are further developed into perspective drawings (3D sketches) which is then digitally rendered to make them look realistic.

Forms are inspired from inspiration board and mood board. It sets the primary look of the project. 

Perspective drawings sets the overall volume of the product.

Digital render sets the visual of the product. Selected 3D sketches get rendered digitally or on paper.

  • Product development

Once the creative part is done, now we focus on curating those ideas into designs. It’s the point of turning concepts into actual real designs.

Concept selection: The process of selecting the most suitable concepts. They are selected on the basis of many factors decided in the earlier project stages. They are selected after using different techniques or criteria to evaluate concept.

Concept detailing: Selected concepts are detailed with ergonomic and aesthetic considerations. 2D drawings are generated to get the forms and shape accurate.

CAD development: CAD (Computer-Aided Design) models are digital representations of objects, structures, or systems created using specialized software. 2D drawings are transformed into CAD models. CAD models are further analysed and revamped. 

Final design: Product materials and manufacturing details are finalised.  At this stage, the design is ready to be manufactured.

  • Prototyping

            Prototyping is the process of creating a preliminary version or model of a product, system, or             concept to test and validate ideas, gather feedback, and identify potential improvements. Prototypes can range from simple sketches or mock-ups to functional and interactive models, depending on the stage of development and the specific objectives of the prototyping phase.

Scaled down prototyping: Scaled-down prototyping refers to the creation of prototypes that are smaller in size or scope compared to the final product or concept. They are used to check dimensions and ergonomic in initial stages of product development.

1:1 scale drawing:  A 1:1 scale drawing, also known as a full-scale drawing or a life-size drawing, is a representation where the dimensions of the drawing are in direct proportion to the actual size of the object or subject being depicted. They are used to verify dimensions and ergonomics of product.

1:1 scale prototyping:  Right before manufacturing starts, prototypes with actual materials are used for final check. 1:1 scale prototyping refers to the creation of prototypes that are exact replicas or scaled to the actual size of the final product or system.

Let us dive back into our project to study and see the changes it went through further into product development stage.

The concepts and ideas that were inspired from the mood board and inspiration board are transformed into prototypes. You can see how they were transformed through each stage.
These prototypes are the ones manufactured in the end. It’s necessary to have the prototypes to ascertain feedbacks and make the needed improvements.

  1. Manufacturing

Now, we shall proceed to the following step, that is, Manufacturing. Manufacturing is the process of transforming raw materials or components into finished products through the use of machinery, labour, and a systematic series of operations. This process typically occurs in a factory or industrial setting where various inputs, including materials, technology, and human skills, are utilized to produce goods on a large scale. Key areas under manufacturing involves

  • Setting up markup price

Setting up a markup price involves carefully calculating how much to add to the cost of your product or service to ensure a profit.

Product segmentation: Product segmentation is a marketing strategy that involves dividing a broad product line into subsets of similar products or services to target specific customer groups more effectively. This approach allows businesses to cater to the preferences and needs of different segments of the market, optimizing their offerings and marketing efforts to each distinct group.

Market positioning: We divide the markets into segments and choose the market that we want to enter. Effective positioning can influence consumer perception and preferences, guiding their decision-making process when choosing between different products or brands.

Cost comparison: Before we decide upon the price, it’s necessary to compare the prices of all similar products. For this, we research about the brands selling similar products in similar market. 

Setting up the price: After analysing all the points above, we decide the selling price.

  • Approaching the manufacturer

Manufacturer Database:   Research for available manufacturers in a particular area to select the most suitable one. We segment the manufacturer based on reviews and recommendations. 

Manufacturer visit:  Visit manufacturer to get an idea of quality, precision, output capacity and more. Later, we select 3-4 manufacturer which seem to be most appropriate for product

Quotation: Send a database of likely products which are to be manufactured with certain details and snapshots. 

  • Manufacturing contract

This contract is an agreement between the designer/firm and the manufacturer for the time period the product exists in the market or the product is selling. This defines the manufacturing details such as manufacturing time estimate, materials, fabrics, foams, costs, and more. This contract also defines the confidentiality of the design, manufacturing rights, and more. This contract is an initial step after agreeing to the quotation of manufacturing any product with a particular manufacturer.

  • Prototyping and manufacturing

Prototyping and manufacturing are integral stages in product development, each serving distinct purposes in bringing a product from concept to market. A 1:1 size prototype is made from certain type of wood with some upholstery to get a final go check for manufacturing the concept. Manufacturing starts once the concept has passed all design checklist, business checklist, contracts and more formalities.

  1. Beyond Product Design

 What happens after a product is manufactured? After which it has been introduced to the market? 

Reviewing product reach: Gather inputs from sellers and distributors to check the product sales

Review & feedback analysis:  Review and feedback analysis is a critical process for businesses to understand customer opinions, improve products or services, and enhance overall customer satisfaction. Analyze the feedbacks, reviews and product damages to improve the experience.

Enhancing the product: Enhancing a product after its initial launch is a common strategy to stay competitive, meet evolving customer needs, and improve overall product performance. Improvise the product with minimal changes to manufacturing, but catering reviews and feedbacks.

Awards and Competitions: Enter awards and competitions to maximize the reach of designs.

From the humble beginnings of an idea to the intricate execution of a masterpiece, design embodies the essence of human ingenuity and creativity. Design isn't just about making things; it's about telling stories and connecting with people. It's amazing how ideas become reality through creativity and determination.

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