Hurdle around for ideas

Design ideations for a project involve a careful act of balancing the raw information. It is crucial to analyse the details and understand whether the client has understood their own needs. Insights from the brief lead into ideas which the client doesn’t expect or something that hasn’t been done before; an Unusual Idea. Question everything; it might turn things around. 

An analysis is often considered as an intellectual segmentation of data from a brief, but it is also a visual exercise. Design Analysis is exploring the aesthetics and practicality of the brief with media like sketches and photographs. They form links and develop the look and feel of the idea in a free and unrestricted way.

This approach is productive for the creative workflow as the ideas emerge, and it connects with the building and the site research. The designer should feel comfortable working and analysing data as they want. Two free flowing techniques that help process analysis and evaluation are brainstorming and mind mapping.  


Brainstorming is quite like throwing every idea in the bag to generate a large number of ideas. It is usually a group activity, but it can apply to an individual as well.

Four things to keep in mind through this process are-

  • Quantity of Ideas- more ideas have a greater chance of finding a good solution.
  •  No idea is a bad idea. Don’t discard any of the initial ideas. Criticism in the early stages hampers creativity. Some ideas could lead to solid ideas.
  • Out of the ordinary, quirky ideas are encouraged. One can stumble upon a radical new way of problem-solving.
  • Combining ideas can also produce better solutions.

Mind mapping

Often one idea leads to another and then another in a flash. Mind maps help collect and record these ideas effectively. Mind maps are diagrams that represent the ideas and their association visually around a central problem. There is no standard rule to organise the map like the train of thought which could be all over the place. It branches out organically, allows space for arranging and linking the information.

Visual imagery, doodles and colours are all part of the mapping, along with words. Pictures reinforce ideas and their flow, which is easier to interpret and contemplate than a plain list. It involves a subconscious processing of the data and a firm foundation to build the project research. Sometimes it is a great idea to present the mind map to the clients to communicate the design flow of the concept stage.

Mind maps typically start from a central idea which is the main topic, and branches out. Regardless of that, there aren’t any rules, so feel free to scribble on paper, start from anywhere. The mind map helps collate all the ideas that might prove beneficial for the project.

An untrodden option in the initial stage- Mood Board

Sometimes the starting point is a feeling or maybe a particular material. It is possible to create a visual concept by select a few reference pictures and material samples to make a collage that summarises the experience the client might want. Collating the images together and editing them could best illustrate the feeling. Once the concepts are clear, the pictures help guide the direction for the project.

The texture, colour, form and style are the hidden clues in the collage, which could hold the complete scheme with sensory experience.The goal of a mood board is to see if things relate to each other if there is a conversation happening between them. Make multiple mood boards, compare them and present them to the client early on in the design process; it helps reach a comprehensive design concept.

The design process is never-ending and keeps evolving; the trick is to start without much ado. Don’t get stuck on it for too long; stop and move on to through the process and come back if needed. Grab on a paper and pencil, and be the vessel through which creativity flows.

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