Turning Design Research Into Creative Concepts

This summer, I had the privilege of working with some amazing, local nonprofits on a variety of branding projects. I designed logos for three new fundraising events and rebranded two established organizations. I really enjoy the process of creating a unique visual identity, from learning about their cause to implementing designs at various touchpoints.

Early in the process, I focus on ‘problem finding’ and discovery research. This can take many forms: talking to board members about their current situation, mission, vision and core values, conducting a competitive analysis, and doing visual research. After sketching ideas and exploring typefaces, digital comps are created. I try to present clients with a range of options during the first round of proofing, as seen in these examples. Translating research into creative concepts is my absolute favorite part of the process!

I love discussing options with clients and helping them select the ones that best meet their needs. Once initial feedback has been gathered, then the logos are narrowed down and a few of the designs are refined. This may include cleaning up artwork, exploring color options, and adjusting the composition. After the chosen logo is approved, then it’s finalized and brand guidelines are developed.

The comps in this post were for the Conquistador Festival, One Heart One America, the Flagler Playhouse, and the Florida National Guard Foundation.

From Problem-Finding to Prototyping

I recently presented at the 2020 UCDA Design Education Summit. The conference theme was Human Centered.

Below is an excerpt from that presentation, which focuses on how human-centered design and activity-centered design have been utilized to develop concepts for interactive products. The examples for each step of the design process are by Flagler College students who were enrolled in ART 326 Interactive Design. The human-centered project involves conducting user research, developing a concept based on the research findings, low-fidelity paper prototyping, branding, user interface (UI) design, building a high-fidelity prototype, app promotion, and culminates with a UX/UI case study. During the activity-centered project, students pitch ideas, analyze an activity, and develop personas, scenarios and mood boards. They create a brand and prototype interrelated products for both the digital and physical environment.

Benefits and risks for each approach are discussed in my paper. In summary, it is important that interaction designers know different approaches, how to move between them, and when to apply the best approach to the situation.

You can listen to the full presentation here: