One thing that I learnt from starting my new job as a Product Designer was how every well executed project always starts with a clear brief. The story was that I thought I would dive straight into drawing new and fun products, instead for the first week I had to learn how to write a design brief. This is something that I’ve evolved over the years to varying degrees of success (and failures).
Learning to write a clear brief helps us designers promote the conversation with our clientele and collaborate with other team members better.
This doesn't mean designer will take over the project, in fact I've learnt that when I can see all sides to the problem I always deliver better results that just work.
Over the years I've worked up an approach, almost a framework for how I work, this can work for almost anyone / any project:
01: Planning / Define
This normally be broken down to - Design Brief, time-scales, user research and mindmapping02: Concept / Discover
As part of the process I get involved with – Brainstorming, Copywriting, Sketching, Design Trends, Prototyping and even User Testing03: Design / Create
This is where things start to come together to start to resemble a final design, this consists of – Layout, Colours, Typography, Photography, Materials all captured in a Final InDesign/Illustrator or Photoshop Composition04: Deliver / Process
For this stage you should consider – Preflight checks, proofing and yes another round of user testing wouldn't hurt.
This approach is something that in essence is what design is about, the key to being a successul designer and deliver great experiences is that you have to master each stage and not focus on one step.