Process: From Concept to Completion

From concept to completion to continuation, the Design Out Loud process is iterative. We have regular communication with clients to ensure a shared understanding. We will talk with you, reflect back what we hear, identify missing pieces, and make sketches and drafts along the way. You will have opportunities to provide feedback and influence the final project.

The iterative approach that we take allows for flexibility. It’s adaptable and provides opportunities to refine the project based on input and evolving needs. This approach is especially useful with more complex projects. We know that understanding and needs can shift over time. Yet, it is also a good practice with smaller projects. Just in smaller doses. Using an iterative process keeps everyone on track. It also helps us deliver what you need in a timely manner.

On this page, you will find information about our approach, process, and co-creation.

The Six C’s: The Design Out Loud Approach

The process is flexible, while keeping six key points in mind:

Curiosity (needs assessment):

Culture (who is sending and receiving the message)

Context (the particularities influencing the project)

Concision (effectiveness)

Communication and Continuation (messages, tweaks, and evaluation)

Read more about our approach

Curiosity (needs assessment): An iterative process begins with curiosity

Some would say that we have a desire to poke into things and figure out how they work. We link curiosity and wonder together. We want to know more because there is so much wonder in the world. This means that throughout our engagement with you, we will ask questions.

Who are you? What’s the problem? What’s interesting? What’s missing?

We constantly challenge ourselves to provide a response based on the information we have. This helps us to identify gaps in understanding and, consequently, bridge those gaps.

Culture (who is sending and receiving the message)

Our team comes from and inhabits different cultures.This means we are attuned to the varied ways of sending and receiving messages. It helps to have a multi-generational and multi-cultural team when it comes to design and communications. Culture also influences who is sending and receiving the message.

Context (the particularities influencing the project)

Working together to define the particular circumstances that influence the project is one of our strengths.

Context helps us determine whether this is this a timeless message or one rooted in a particular moment, along with other important aspects. It is specific, changeable, and evolving. In a sense, context itself is iterative.

Concision (effectiveness)

This relates to the effectiveness of the communication. It leads us to ask the following: How can we be more comprehensible? More precise? Are we providing just the right amount of information?

Communication and Continuation (messages, tweaks, and evaluation).

Finally, we take everything we’ve learned and create an effective message that meets the goals of the project. But this isn’t the end! We also are available for maintenance, tweaks, and evaluation.

The Process

Process icons on a green to yellow spectrum.

The 6 c’s tell you about how we approach a project, but now you need to know how that translates to the nitty gritty details. Here you go:

Project Scope: Setting the boundaries

Agreement: Coming to terms

Change Request Process: Making sure everyone knows the impact of a change

Check-Ins and Milestones: Keeping the surprises for your birthday and not your project

Read more about our process

Project Scope: Setting the boundaries

The design process begins by clearly defining the project scope, including its objectives, requirements, and constraints. This step ensures a shared understanding of what needs to be accomplished during the course of the project.It is during this step that we define the project’s limits, the timeline, deliverables, and guidelines for changes to any aspect. For instance, for a straight-forward visual design project, we would define the number of concept designs, the review process, and the finalization.

Agreement: Coming to terms

Once the project scope is established, a formal agreement is created between the client and the design team. This agreement outlines the project timeline, budget, deliverables, and any other terms and conditions. It serves as a reference point to manage expectations and maintain transparency throughout the project.

Change Request Process: Making sure everyone knows the impact of a change

There will be changes, we know that. The change request process allows us to manage scope creep and ensures that any changes align with the project’s goals and timeline. Some changes will be easy to implement, others may require more time. When changes affect the project budget and timeline, we will have to agree together on the conditions before any new work is undertaken.

Check-Ins and Milestones: Keeping the surprises for your birthday and not your project

We don’t want surprises. You don’t want surprises.So, regular check-ins are scheduled between the client and the design team at predefined intervals. These check-ins maintain open communication. They help ensure that we are aligned. We prefer to have the communication channels open as we reach the milestones defined in the project scope.

Co-Creation

Co-creation is a collaborative approach. It involves active participation from multiple stakeholders. This process is collective and involves surfacing the expertise of diverse individuals and groups. It’s exciting and often surprising.

In the context of design and creative processes, co-creation goes beyond traditional methods where the designer or creator works independently and delivers a final product. Instead, it involves engaging stakeholders in a meaningful and inclusive way throughout the entire creative process.

How? Keep Reading

Partnership: Co-creation emphasizes the establishment of a partnership with participants and stakeholders. It is based on mutual respect, shared responsibility, and active collaboration.

Shared decision-making: Co-creation involves involving stakeholders in decision-making processes, allowing them to contribute ideas, insights, and perspectives. This participatory approach is key. It ensures that diverse viewpoints are considered and integrated into the final outcome.

Open communication: Effective communication fosters dialogue, knowledge sharing, and feedback exchange among all involved. This encourages the exploration of different possibilities and the co-development of innovative responses.

Empathy and understanding: Through co-creation we develop a deep understanding of the needs, aspirations, and challenges of the stakeholders involved.

Iterative and adaptive approach: Co-creation involves an iterative process. Along the way the deliverables are refined and improved based on feedback and insights from stakeholders. This iterative approach allows for flexibility, adaptability, and the incorporation of new knowledge throughout the creative process.

Value co-creation: The ultimate goal of co-creation is to generate value that benefits all involved. It addresses collective needs and helps to build community feeling through respect, dignity, and engagement.

When the stars align and the project is sufficiently meaningful and long-term enough for this to make sense, we engage in co-creation. This means going beyond process we have defined and co-creating in partnership with a community. We do this by engaging in deep and meaningful discussions with stakeholders that often end up surfacing surprising content. Research, observation, and analysis are all part of this. Co-creation can move slowly, yet it has so many benefits. Namely, it builds community along the way leading to richer and more robust outcomes.

A co-creation process involves commitment from the client. It requires more input in terms of time and coordination. Co-creation taps into the wisdom of the participants. It is a process that honors and respects experience and participation. It can surface hidden knowledge and lead to better relations, increased participation, and more commitment.

Importantly, there are no short cuts in co-creation. So, it’s not for everyone. You can read a case study involving members of the Design Out Loud team.