Design projects are immensely varied, with no two projects being the same. There are different perspectives, requirements and methodologies which must be utilised in order to see a concept through to fruition and product a design which meets the needs and wants of the client.

The approach to any design lies in the notion of design thinking and application of the three I’s, Ideation, Iteration and Implementation. However, even when following these guidelines, there are some pitfalls, which can bring even the greatest concept to its knees. This blog will talk about three of the most common.


Not knowing what people want

“Thinking about design is hard, but not thinking about it can be disastrous” Ralph Caplan

The core behind any design project is understanding the wants and needs of your market. For this you need research. Who? What? When? Where? And How? Unless you answer these questions, you are designing blind; guessing potential peeves and projecting benefits onto a demographic you don’t know or understand. How can your design resonate with the end user if you have no idea who they really are?

The point here is that research is a fundamental aspect of the design process and of design thinking. It is a must in development to ensure that what you make, regardless of purpose, style or application, resonates in the desired market.

Not thinking efficiently

“Creativity is to think more efficiently” Pierre Reverdy

Good design aims to simplify complex processes. The modern world is time poor and there is a desire to have products which function faster, with less input from the user. In short, people want efficiency.

The more complex a product is, the more difficult it is to use, the longer to takes to work and the more frustrating it is to apply. Through clever design, we focus on how we can streamline our concepts, remove excessive components, optimise function and make the user experience as easy and quick as possible.

Ideation and Iteration is key here. Optimisation requires development. Re-examination, analysis of current problems and understanding of usage behaviours. By keeping these in mind, we can be creative in finding new pathways and shortcuts to streamline and enhance the user experience, capturing the desire of elegant and efficient simplicity.


Not knowing when to let go

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” Steve Jobs

Iteration and Implementation are core components of the design process and are essential to developing and enhancing design concepts. But at some point a design needs to be considered complete. Finished. There may be potential for further optimisation of mechanics. There may need to be revision of form and style. Colour. Extra Features. Less features. And a hundred more changes, from major to miniscule. But you need to know when to let go.

Projects deadlines are fundamental in maintaining client confidence and ensuring targets are met. But this is for more than just client happiness. Consider the ever shifting nature of the market. What was the hottest product now, is obsolete or outdated in a short time. If we spend too long on minor changes or complete redesigns, we lose essential market opportunity. Perfectionism is a great aim, but the nature of product development emphasises the need to compromise and let go.

These pitfalls can make or break a design project and, as such, it is important to keep them in mind during all stages of the design process.