The research in design

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What is research in design?

When we face a design project it is essential to conduct research to contextualize and know where will apply the designs, from a whole visual identity to the different supports for advertising campaigns.

Once we finish the research and have all the information it is time to get ideas which will be consistent with the briefing we have previously obtained.

In order to carry out the research process, we have resources and work methodologies which we will use to gather the maximum amount of useful information to guarantee the success of the project.

“Research is the act of going down alleys to see if there is a way out.”

Why research is important?

The main function of a graphic design project is to solve a communication problem, no make it attractive. To find that communication solution it is essential to know the essence of the project, the target audience, how it is being approached by other companies in the same area, to finally generate a unique design without losing sight of his main goal.

This research process is very important, otherwise we will be designing without a basis on which we account for our work and decisions. Good research equals good design. It gives us an accurate direction and focus that will determine the quality of the results.

When we send a budget to the client we must include in it an estimate of hours that the research process will take us, because sometimes the client doesn’t understand the importance of the research process, he thinks that just because we are dedicated to this job we already have a solution in our head and we just have to shape it, it is a mistake that unfortunately is often repeated, sometimes because of ignorance by the client and sometimes because we are unlucky to have a toxic client in front us.

Research stages in graphic design

The first step of research will be based on shaping the project briefing. Research on its nature and gather information that will be mostly provided by the client or we will be the ones who must access it through meetings or surveys to the client, interviews, employee, all it depend on the project’s feature and the goal to be achieved.

While we are working in the research process, we will focus mainly on 3 research areas (target audience research – market research – field research), in each of them we will carry out certain methodologies and use tools that do not have to be exclusive among them.

 Research in design

Audience research

In this step we need to know the personality of the people who will use the product or service in order to know their tastes, trends and find a way to connect with them in such a way that when they see the design they feel that we are talking directly to them.

To do this we can use a sort of techniques such as group interviews, take conversations with social networks users who fit with the target audience, etc….

Users want to share their opinion, we can see it every day on social networks. Through questionnaires or surveys we can get worthly information, and if it is face to face much better, we will get a more honest answer.

Market research

What strategy use other companies? ¿How are they positioning themselves in the market? It is important to answer these questions to find the place where we want to be and position ourselves where no one has ever dared before.

Para ello analizaremos a través de webs, revistas, publicaciones o cualquier punto de contacto donde se expresan estas empresas de que forma se comunican, que recursos visuales utilizan, o su tono de voz.

For that, we will analyze through websites, magazines, issues or any point of contact where these companies express themselves, how they communicate, what visual resources they use, or its tone of voice.

Field research

Although thanks to the Internet we have a lot of information at our fingertips, without having to leave the studio, it is highly recommended to go out and see with our own eyes where our design is going to live. On a supermarket shelf, on a building facade? Knowing firsthand the solutions that companies in the same area have taken will make us come up with more original and efficient ideas.

Research process in graphic design

How to understand the data

The goal in this step of research is to move from data to information and from information to knowledge. We will need to reflect on the data gathered, understand the findings and synthesize them to draw accurate conclusions.

The project will take different paths depending on the discoveries we have made. Our design expertise will influence how we respond to those findings.

Want to learn more about research in graphic design area?

If you want to go deeper into all these aspects of research I recommend this book by Parramón – Investigación en el diseño. It is part of a series that covers the basics of graphic design. Highly recommended for those who are starting out in the world of visual communication.

 Research in design - book

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Categoría/s: Graphic design


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