• The process of finding out all the information you need to know in order to complete the project.
  • Figure out what questions you need answered. Can include questions about:
    • Timeline
    • The client, their business, their brand, their story
    • Who will you work with, communicate with, report to, get approval from
    • Project requirements
    • Information architecture
    • Code limitations or capabilities
    • Assets: brand, images, copy, media
    • End users, demographics, target audience
  • Ask questions
    • be specific to the project
  • do research
  • Competitive research

    • Look at as much as you can
    • Don’t limit yourself to looking at exactly the same type of thing as your project
    • make notes on:
      • what common design choices and patterns you see
      • what works well and why
      • what stylistic elements you might borrow
      • what doesn’t work and why


      One of the first steps in the design process is ideation. Essentially, ideation is where you look into your mind and see what ideas are lurking in there, waiting to be explored.

      The key is to get those ideas, big or small, out of your brain and out into the world, on paper, on a whiteboard, in a note-taking app. Minds are chaotic places where ideas come and go without much prompting. Moving those ideas into the real world makes it easier to examine them and organize them, and to see which might work and which might not.

      How to Ideate

      When you allow your imagination to run free, making note of all your ideas without judging them, you might be surprised at how creative you become and what surprising ideas emerge. You can start evaluating the ideas with a more critical eye later, after after you've given your mind free-reign to be ideate without self-consciousness.

      Another important thing to bear in mind as you ideate is that everything is a remix. Don't worry too much about whether your ideas are totally original. Many designers come from an art background and carry with them a desire to express themselves and display their original thinking.

      It's great to be original and expressive. But it can be hard to do so when you are under self-imposed pressure to throw out everything that ever came before. The fact is, everyone's work is inspired by and informed by the work of others.

      In fact, since visual design involves creating interfaces that users must understand and interact with, its important to keep some aspects of a design relatively familiar to avoid confusion.

      Ideation Techniques

      There are many techniques for ideating, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The important thing is to choose the most appropriate technique for the type of ideas you're trying to generate. What follows is a brief overview of several of the most common techniques.

      • Refinement

      • Execution