Strategic design: Getting acquainted with the work process

Briefly about a strategic design process. I have yet to learn/understand all about them, so I have only listed loads of stuff I think is relevant – making a list I can come back to.

Conduct research

  • Researching the clients needs and perceptions by interviewing the client (key people)
  • Examining the clients history (initial, status quo, future way points)
  • Products (evaluate products, brand architecture, (product hierarchy, main products, sub products, spin offs etc.))
  • Collect existing and previous design products (ads, campaigns, samples).
  • Collect data on consumers (product utility, perceptions, satisfaction, etc),
  • Competition (style, approach, strategy, position, who they are and their consumers)
  • Technology in use (hardware, software, infrastructure, facilities, support, etc),
  • Legal (trademark, protection, disclaimers, declarations, etc)
  • Language (culture, communication)
  • Examining press coverage (statements, articles, press stuff).

Clarify the strategy

Regarding design brief – depending on the type of product and budget a design brief may involve:

  • Clarifying visions statements (the abstracts, or concepts, positioning)
  • The product strategy (product names, low-price or exclusive, target audience, etc.)
  • What goals (purpose) need to be met (sell, entertain, support, impress, inform?)
  • Target audiences to reach (existing and/or new markets)
  • What values to consider (brand equity, additional values consolidated over time, perceptions, image)
  • What design products to be made
  • What technology to be used
  • Style decisions
  • Competition
  • Drivers and barriers
  • How to market internally (common understanding within the organisation).
  • Conclude an agreement.

Design the identity

  • Synthesize results from research.
  • Brainstorm and explore ideas
  • Focus on workable ideas
  • Construct and visualize
  • Build and present concepts
  • Conclude an agreement.

Create touchpoints 

  • Touch-points are all circumstances where the brand is able to communicate with consumers, to make consumers to get in touch or interact with the brand (interfaces for customer contacts, channels to make impressions).
  • There can be many touchpoints  (stationeries, product packaging, advertising, social media, sales, homepage, brochures, marketing surveys, user tests, customer support, etc.) within a company.
  • Design guide is also regraded as a touchpoint (instructions for use of brand assets (logo, fonts, colors, etc.))

Manage the assets

Assets are regarded as both abstracts (dialog, partnership, marketing strategies, etc.) and physical properties (logo, colors, fonts, design products, etc.) of the brand.

Managing these assets usually includes widen or sharpen the business strategy and/or continually make existing/new market aware of the brand, remind the audience of its relevancy, perhaps also re-brand and re-design the identity in a certain pace.


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