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Designing at pace: design as we think

In the ad industry, where I work, ideas are generated at record speeds, so the need to design at pace is sort of a given. Obviously, not all these ideas are good. But sketching it out, visualising, and maybe even bringing it to life with motion or a real prototype can help either progress or pivot.

Sometimes designers tend to focus too much on the detail and try to perfect every little pixel—as if these early mockups are final pieces of work. However, when you are in an ideation state, it is important to let things be rough, loose and maybe even a little broken. This allows us to rapidly iterate and get good feedback from ourselves and our stakeholders.

We have a lot of design tools such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, Affinity, Sketch, Figma, and even free 3D software such as Blender—which all help create and execute ideas at relatively low costs. While starting with a physical sketch is generally a good idea, most of the time in our industry we have to find ways to design as quickly as we think.

The problem arises when these rough designs are bought in as the final piece. While we appraise the skill to ‘design as you think‘, the final article still should be given the love and attention—the craft—it deserves.

So, let’s not confuse ‘design-at-ideation’ with ‘design-at-execution’.