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Week 5 | Thoughts on Ideas

Defining Methods of Thinking, Curiosity and Insight

Lecture notes

How Do We Generate Ideas?

As designers we will be thinking about:

  • Linear and lateral thinking

  • Curiosity

  • Unique proposition/ insight

  • Paradigm shift

  • Collisionof ideas.

Bruce Archer

Bruce Archer played a key role in the design methods movement and was

instrumental in developing the discipline of design research.

The model broke the design process down into key stagesof

programming, data collection, analysis, synthesis, development and communication.

Looking at observation, evaluation, description and transmission.

Double Diamond approach

A simple graphical way of describing the design process.

Divided into four distinct phases, Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver, it maps the

divergent and convergent stages of the design process, showing the different modes of thinking that designers use.


The initial idea or inspiration, often sourced from a discovery phase in which user needs are identified. These include:

  • Market research

  • User research

  • Managing information

  • Design research groups

Phase of divergent thought, where the designers and other project team members keep their perspectives wide to allow for a broad range of ideas and influences. In this stage of the design process, the company is asking a question, posing a hypothesis or identifying a problem by analysing market data, trends and other information sources.


Definition stage, in which interpretation and alignment of these needs to business objectives is achieved. Key activities during the Define stage are:

  • Project development

  • Project management

  • Project sign-off

Findings from the Discover stage are analysed, defined and refined as problems, and ideas for solutions are pitched and prototyped.


Period of development where design-led solutions are developed, iterated and tested within the company. Key activities and objectives during the Develop stage are:

  • Multi-disciplinary working

  • Visual management

  • Development methods

  • Testing

At the Develop stage the project has been taken through a formal sign-off, which has given the corporate and financial backing to the development of one or more concepts that have addressed the initial problem.

During the Develop stage, the design team, either together with key internal partners (such as engineers, developers, programmers, and marketing teams) or via external design agencies, refine one or more concepts that will address the problems or issues identified during the Discover and Define stages.


Delivery stage, where the resulting product or service is finalised and launched in the relevant market. The key activities and objectives during this stage are:

  • Final testing, approval and launch

  • Targets, evaluation and feedback loops

Final concept is taken through final testing, signed-off, produced and launched. It will result in a product or service that successfully addresses the problem identified during the Discover stage. It will also include processes for feeding back lessons from the full design process to inform future projects, including methods, ways of working and relevant information.

The Double Diamond approach is something I have found very interesting to learn about. This is something I can take on during my work, particularly when starting a campaign; I think this would be a perfect way to plan it and allows for broader thinking in the long run.


How do we think? How does your thought process influence your design work? Exploring ways of thinking and summerising in a black line drawing.

From some initial research I have found 7 ways of thinking; Creative thinking, Analytical thinking, Critical thinking, Concrete thinking, Abstract thinking, Divergent thinking, Convergent thinking. I would say I am a mixture of creative and divergent thinking, with slight abstract thinking sometimes. I intend to explore abstract thinking more to see if it is something I can unlock more within my design work.

Abstract thinking

"An abstract thinker is able to relate seemingly random things with each other and make the connections others find difficult to see." - Tatiana Azman

I imagine this way of thinking allows for a lot of experimentation and allows you to open your mind to many possibilities. Looking at abstract work I came across an artist I love - Es Devlin. Her most recent work for a Saint Laurent used an amazing ring of light to frame the show. It is not just a beautiful piece that give a modern/futuristic aesthetic but it has hidden references to the area and even the novel 'The Sheltering Sky'.

Es Devlin is an artist who creates large-scale public art works and stage sculptures that combine light, music and language.

Her work has been displayed in a vast amount of areas and galleries such as Trafalgar Square, The V&A, The Louvre and The Serpentine Gallery. She also creates many of the sets for artists like Adele and U2.

Her practice was the subject of the Netflix documentary series ABSTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN (2017) which is a great watch to discover more about her work and learn about a powerful female artist trailblazing in the industry.

Her work always seems to use abstract thinking and focuses on how her audience can engage with her art. I also love her use of light and reflections.

Black line Drawing

To summarise in a black line drawing - I wanted to create something that wasn't a traditional black line drawing with influence to Es Devlin's art.

I decided to focus on using light/shadows to create my drawing, seen as this is one important aspect to her work. I plan to recreate her sculpture from the Five Echoes Chanel event which is pictured below. I chose this because of the abstract pathways and the shadows that area created through these pathways.

My first idea used lights - I wanted to recreate this sculpture but with lights which I could then invert to create a black line image. However this didn't work with these type of lights, I needed more of a rope light then Christmas lights. It was also hard to create this shape.

I decided to try another idea that focused on shadows. I cut a stencil from an image of the sculpture which I could then project with light onto a wall to create an image. This worked a lot better and using paper to create a stencil is something Devlin uses to create initial designs for her sculptures.

After inverting the images and apply some level effects I got the below outcomes. They are a bit rough around the edges but do look like a black line drawing and has an abstract relation to the sculpture. I will also add some texture to represent these representing physical art.


I chose a more abstract image for my outcome seen as that is what type of thinking I am focusing on. I can see the edge of the Chanel sculpture but can also relate it to other pieces of Es Devlin's's work like ORANGE and THE SEED.

I liked doing something different to create this outcome and using techniques that Devlin herself uses. I think it overall shows a reflection of her abstract style of art.

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