The design research includes as many topics as needed for design development.
It all starts with gaining a picture of the industry and the market, and then to more detailed sections.
Usually research explore ergonomics, competitors products and brands, head-to-head feature comparisons, silhouettes, CMF (Color Material Finish), details, visual styling and impression.
The design research also includes working on user feedback, linking feedback with market numbers if possible. It is an exciting part of the overall process because even when most of the research stages are similar from project to project, exact scope, market and business needs tune the research.
Good design research should provide answers to some “why” and “what” in the beginning and during the design.
The main ingredient in project development is the design process. Using all available and generated information designer go into an iterative process like Double Diamond or Design Squiggle. At certain stages I am presenting the progress to the client, generating feedback and making decisions. The process continues until design goals are met.
The design process also may include creative supervision at the stage of production preparation and refinement.
The trends are everywhere. They are tools of measure, but also derived from almost anything that happens to humanity, nature, products. A separate thing to discover. And trends can be highlighted on a very different scale. My trendspotting process is a blend of numerical and empiric approaches, in each project I go from the very least - generating a picture of what the industry trends are now and may be, to full analytics, reports, forecasts, and everything in between. Sometimes trends are not the vital part of the design given the scope of the project or target market. But I am still generating a picture of current global and local trends in major areas, which helps on every design stage. Through the last 4-5 years of experience I’ve developed the complete trendwatching system, which I am using for the projects.
Typically 99 percent of the projects I am working on do need great visuals to go with them. Those pictures, presentations and sketches produced in between the process and at the end of the process. The visuals are not only the way of making a nice first impression for the project but also a powerful way of checking details and effects, evaluate design and CMF. Even the VR (Virtual Reality) may be used to test true-to-life digital prototypes of products.