Written outcomes in Unit 3 may be undertaken as essays, asssignments or projects prepared over a set period of time. Alternatively, the outcome may be completed under test conditions and involve an essay or short-answer questions.
Understanding professional practice:
The design of effective visual communications is a complex process that often requires a collaborative and interactive relationship between designers, specialist personnel and client.
Designers follow an established process to make the most effective use of time, skills and resources. The structure of the design process that is explored through the Visual Communication & Design course is similar to the one followed by many design professionals.
When analyzing professional practice it is valuable to look at the professional context within which the designer works. Design is a fluid professional field and designers may find themselves working independently or within a team at different times in their career.
- Freelance Designer: Individuals who work independently rather than an employee of a design business or other organisation.
- Design Studio: The designer rarely works alone and is often part of a large team. Designers can focus on the creative aspect.
- In-House Designer: Large organisations often employ designers to manage design tasks in-house.
The Design Process:
The design process is not always a linear one that follows each stage listed in order. A designer will often need to return to the design brief for clarification, conduct more research to extend resources, develop more solutions upon client request, repeat the refining of ideas phase, and evaluate solutions at different stages of the process. The designer may also, in meeting with the client, recommend other design applications and, if accepted, they would need to revisit and rewrite the design brief to include these specifications.
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Suggested examples of professional practitioners are as follows:
- Art Director
- Exhibition Designer
- Fashion Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Industrial Designer
- Interior Architect
- Landscape Designer
- Multimedia Designer
- Product Designer
- Set Designer
- Web Designer
When the final production is completed, the designer is again faced with the task of having his or her design evaluated. This evaluation can, and usually does, take on many forms. The first to evaluate the results would generally be the client. The employees of the firm may also have input in commenting on the final presentation/product. From the client base the result is then tested in its environment. If the product were a new menu, customer reaction would be important. If it were a mobile phone, distributor and customer reactions would be watched closely. The firm may also conduct market research to gain a deeper understanding of customer thinking. With each phase of evaluation the client and the designer would note the responses and discuss possible additions and/or alterations for future products.
The designer will often judge the success of his or her involvement in developing the specific communication need by the amount of ongoing work the project generates or through positive feedback from other potential clients.
- The professional designer and the client must meet to discuss a specific communication need
- A design brief is developed to reflect the nature and need, its financial and creative constraints and its purpose, audience and context
- The professional designer begins research to gain a greater understanding of the communication need
- The professional designer begins to generate ideas, sometimes in isolation and sometimes as part of a design team
- A selection of a limited number of possible concepts is made so that refining the solution can proceed
- The professional designer considers design elements, principles, materials, methods & media as part of the refining process
- The professional designer meets with the client and presents a range of possible solutions for evaluation relevant to the brief
- Trials and mock-ups are developed to test potential solutions
- The professional designer develops the selected solution(s) for final production
- The professional designer interacts with specialist personnel to ensure that the final production proceeds according to his/her specifications
- The final presentation is evaluated to gain the client’s, interested specialists’, and the audience’s reaction