APPROACH

Attempt-4

As each design challenge is inherently unique, it’s impossible to have a cookie cutter approach to designing, but this doesn’t diminish the importance of having an approach to the way you design. Having an internal set of standards and ways of working allows for the repeated creation of a timely output of consistent quality.

Just like with problems, every designer is unique in what they value, and the skills they bring to the table. This page sums up what I think is important to being a designer and the values that I try to utilise in my design work, even though design requires a complex amalgamation of varied soft and hard skills, the 5 I explain below are 5 overarching themes with touchpoints in most design challenges.

I’m using the Soma Puzzle Cube as a representation for my values. The Soma Puzzle Cube is an infamous puzzle, consisting of 5 individual and unique pieces that can only come together in one specific way to be assembled into the final cube, it’s challenging, it’s frustrating, and it requires the specific combination of pieces to succeed. I view each design challenge I come across much like this puzzle. The problem often seems like an impossible challenge in the beginning, but there is a solution, it just has to be found by tinkering with and iteratively utilising the 5 unique pieces until the winning combination is found.

I like to view the final assembled cube as my design approach, made up of 5 pieces, each representing an individual value, assembled together in a unique and challenging way to produce the elegant solution.

Am I aware this sounds slightly pretentious? I am, but I also think it’s important to look inwards and understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and at the very least, it makes for a cool graphic and exercise in visual design.

COMPONENTS 

The cube, once deconstructed, reveals 5 uniquely shaped pieces. I’ve chosen each one of these to represent my values. Scroll down to explore how I’ve done this, and read a little into my thinking behind it all.

Blue

CREATIVITY

Design and creativity go hand in hand, for us to be able to solve complex problems, we need to think outside of our predefined boxes.

Creativity is a skill that is learnt and developed over time, it’s a way of thinking that comes naturally to everyone but through continued flexing, is mastered. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can work this muscle in my work and personal life to allow the continued development of it. Every problem has a solution, but sometimes this solution can only be uncovered through the hard work of creative thinking. This piece of the cube represents creativity, a small part of this cube extrudes from the main body, without this extrusion, it would just be a box, echoing how creativity is just about thinking outside of the box.

EMPATHY

Empathy is an important factor to being a designer, it’s a trait that allows us to feel what others feel and put ourselves in their shoes. To understand the person and their issues, we must first connect with how they might be feeling about the situation that needs solving, revealing the core issues, and what we must do next.

To be empathetic, like this piece, everyone needs to be both clear and transparent with ourselves and with others. Empathy is about breaking down our emotional and physical barriers, this piece represents a wall, which has started to crumble and open.

white
white

EMPATHY

Empathy is an important factor to being a designer, it’s a trait that allows us to feel what others feel and put ourselves in their shoes. To understand the person and their issues, we must first connect with how they might be feeling about the situation that needs solving, revealing the core issues, and what we must do next.

To be empathetic, like this peice, everyone needs to be both clear and transparent with ourselves and with others. Empathy is about breaking down our emotional and physical barriers, this piece represents a wall, which has started to crumble and open.

red

INTROSPECTION

Introspection is an internal thought process that involves looking inwards to examine one's own thoughts and emotions. Design is a mental activity, mostly stemming from our own experiences and thoughts, if we don’t have a steady hold on where our thoughts and preconceived notions come from, our designs can often end up biased and only fitting for our narrow view of the world. Taking the time to think about our thoughts and not just accepting them, is a vital step to diversifying and growing our thoughts and traits.

Introspection is all about turning inwards, this piece demonstrates that with a small part seemingly moving inwards towards the larger picture, and orange being assocaited with warmth, encouragement, and change.

VISUAL SKILLS

A solid foundation in typography, layout and pixel pushing allows the building of the look and feel for web and mobile interfaces through stunning brand guidelines. These are taken forward to create layouts that strengthen a brand’s unique style or voice through its visual touchpoints.

This stretches into all things visual, including motion, 3D and graphic design, to form the basis of skills needed to create diverse and inspiring visuals.

Although visual skills do not solve problems alone, it’s a skill truly at the base of a successful product, and sticks it’s roots into all aspects of a brand, reflected by the shape of this vibrant piece.

 

purple
purple

VISUAL SKILLS

A solid foundation in typography, layout and pixel pushing allows the building of the look and feel for web and mobile interfaces through stunning brand guidelines. These are taken forward to create layouts that strengthen a brand’s unique style or voice through its visual touchpoints.

This stretches into all things visual, including motion, 3D and graphic design, to form the basis of skills needed to create diverse and inspiring visuals.

Although visual skills do not solve problems alone, it’s a skill truly at the base of a successful product, and sticks it’s roots into all aspects of a brand, reflected by the shape of this vibrant piece.

Green

COMMUNICATION

"Communication is the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing, or behavior." Dare I say more? The exchange of information is a fundamental skill that has progressed humanity to where we are today, as a species we’d be stuck in the dark ages if everyone kept everything to themselves.

Communication is a vital skill in any role, this is just as true in design. Not only is it important to communicate with users to understand them, communication with other designers, developers and stakeholders throughout the process is crucial to a cohesive and impactful solution.

Only by working together can we climb the staircase of the uphill battle we all face, reflected by the steep climbing nature of this piece.

Together, these 5 pieces form the Cube, if any of the pieces were missing, the cube would fall apart.

It’s not obvious as to how these cubes are built, and what order it must be assembled, much like encountering a problem, the solution is not known but it’s known there is a solution. Even if you didn’t know how to solve the puzzle, if you spent enough time thinking about it, and experimenting with any number of combinations of the pieces, you’d eventually come across the winning formula.

As a junior designer, I’m still trying to figure out this winning formula, I’ve gotten closer to it, but it’s still not 100%, perhaps some of the pieces are a little weak, and others just aren’t quite where they need to be, but with time, comes practice, and improvement. I’ve been privileged enough to have several years of experience under my belt now, which when combined with the knowledge passed down from very talented co-workers, I’m confident that my cube is getting pretty strong.

If you’d like to help me complete it, please do get in touch.

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London, UK
Email: milesbennett90@yahoo.co.uk

© Miles Bennett