Designers document everything because they understand the value of that process. They put down every idea for design, regardless of whether it seems a good one or not, because the exercise of creation itself creates new ways of seeing (and solving) a problem, and because the good ideas are often visible only in relation to the bad.

 

When we are presented with a brief and begin to sketch out solutions, our ideas build on each other, providing a platform that informs the next proposition, with each ‘bad’ idea revealing something that needed to be said, helping to illustrate the right idea whenever that comes along. There is no hard or fast about it, sometimes the first idea is the best idea, but the process of creativity needs to sift through the guff to reach the gold.

 

We consciously repeat the same process when it comes to presenting designs to clients. Sure, we almost always have a favourite when we walk in the room, and more often than not the client will agree with that option, but it is vital that we present a range of ideas to a client so they can go through the good/bad design decision making process themselves and be fully invested in the final choice. They recognise the good design, in relation to the bad (or less good), and are able to see the process that led us up to that point. In this respect the bad designs actively assist the good design, supporting them by being less distinctive and effective, helping to isolate the things that make the good design work.

 

We have no problem at all admitting that it can take us a few turns to create something worthwhile, and what is more we are completely happy discussing and examining wrong turns. We firmly believe that by doing so, and by making it a part of the prototype phase, we are better placed than ever to be able to recognise good design and to ensure it makes it into the finished article.

 

“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” Paula Scher