It’s on the screen you’re reading this on. The touchscreen or trackpad (or a keyboard/mouse) you’re using to navigate this page.
It’s in the pen on your desk and the book beside it. The mug you sip your coffee from.
Most of the world’s top companies put design before anything else, and for a good reason. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola and Tesla are all successful because of their design-led approach to tackle challenges.
That’s one of the major reasons why everyone wants to think like designers, even when the objective is not purely related to design. Design Thinking is at the core of building a sustainable and successful organization.
So, what exactly is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking places the user at the centre. It’s a human-centred design process.
The focus is not only on how the product looks or makes one feel but how it’s used practically in everyday life.
It was popularized by IDEO’s Tim Brown and David M. Kelley, and Roger Martin of the Rotman School.
Design Thinking focuses on finding a solution to complex problems by using direct observation, logic, intuition, imagination and reasoning. The desired outcome should ultimately benefit the end-user.
The same approach can be applied to systems, protocols, user experiences and even building an entire company.
The Design Thinking Process
Empathy is vital to know your users and care about them. It’s the foundation upon which you build everything else. If you don’t care about the end-user and how they’ll interact with your product or service, you might as well give it up now.
Empathising with your end-user will give you a fresh set of eyes which will help you learn more about them. It’ll also give you an idea about the context in which they’ll use your product or service.
How do you empathise with your end-user? You interview them and dig deeper into their lives. Observe, engage, watch and listen their every word and action. Pay attention particularly to the little details and try to look at everything they do from their point of view.
Once you’ve got this down, you have all the information you need to define the problem you’re solving.
Only when you frame the right problem in the right manner can you arrive at the right solution.
The Define mode helps you bring clarity and focus to your design problem.
You’ve collected all the information you need and have empathised with your user. It’s now time to capture your findings and define a meaningful and actionable problem statement.
The problem statement should be formulated such that it focuses on insights and needs of a particular user. In simple terms, the Define mode is about making sense of all the information that’s in front of you.
Once you’ve defined the specific challenge you’re taking on, you need to generate meaningful solutions to address that challenge.
If you’re stuck getting started, ask yourself “How-Might-We-….?” and then take it forward.
Brainstorming is one of the best ways to kick start idea generation. The group dynamics helps you build on others’ ideas to arrive at even better solutions.
In the Ideate mode, you try to come up with the broadest range of possibilities to tackle your challenge. Here, the goal is not to arrive at the final, best solution, but the only list down a wide variety of ideas. The more the number of ideas, the better.
This is where your imagination and creativity comes into play. Encourage everyone in your team to come up with new ideas. While ideating, make sure to defer judgements and keep your critic inside you, suppressed. You can examine the merits of the ideas generated later.
Ideation supplies the source material needed to build prototypes and innovate later on.
Some of the most popular ways to ideate are noting down your rational thoughts, simple prototyping, bodystorming, mind-mapping and sketching.
Bring multiple ideas from your ideation process into the Prototype mode. This is where you evaluate your ideas and filter down the best ones.
But how will you decide which ideas to choose and which ones to ignore? Select too many ideas and you’re left with a clutter. Leave out too many and you’re losing out on your innovation potential.
Choose a bunch of critical criteria to rate your ideas on and let your team decide which one’s are the best. Carry two or three ideas that get the most votes forward into the Prototyping stage.
You can also club a few ideas together if it’s possible. However, never forget about your insights gained during the Empathy mode and lose track of your end-user. It’s easy to get lost in your own ideas and grow an attachment towards them.
Once you and your team have agreed on the best ideas, it’s time to build a prototype. Your first prototype should be cheap and easy to make. Something which can elicit useful feedback. As your design challenge evolves with incoming inputs, the prototype can be refined too.
So, what exactly is a prototype? It can be anything that you can interact with. Post-it notes, a storyboard, a simple gadget or even an activity. Anything that brings out emotions and responses from the user is a good bet.
You should make sure that every prototype you consider can be tested against a particular criterion.
Prototyping helps you to fail quickly and cheaply while testing a wide range of ideas and possibilities. It helps you break down a large problem into manageable chunks, simplifying the design challenge considerably.
Building a prototype needs some materials to get started. Post-its, tape, paper, cardboard, and any other unused material lying around is enough.
It’s wise not to spend a lot of time and money on building a single prototype. Let go of it once you’ve accomplished what you want and move on to the next prototype idea.
Make sure to identify what you’re testing with each prototype. Every prototype you build should answer a question when tested. However, don’t ignore other understandings you gain from each prototype. Tangential learnings help you refine your prototypes later.
That being said, always build the prototype with the end-user in mind. This will help you stay focused while creating the prototype.
Every prototype should be scrutinised and tested against the desired outcome. What those tests are and how to perform them with minimal errors is something that you should decide in advance, upon before building your prototype.
Test mode allows you to solicit feedback from your users and understand them better. It also lets you have another go at gaining empathy for the people you’re designing for.
Ask specific questions to your test users. If they like the prototype, ask them why they like it. If they don’t like it, ask them the same. This will help you gain insights about the person as well as develop potential solutions.
Here’s a quick tip: build your prototype assuming that it’s completely right, but test the prototype assuming that it’s totally wrong.
Once you’ve done testing, share your solutions and get feedback.
You haven’t completed the process yet. In fact, this is just the beginning. You have to iterate the whole process multiple times until you’ve narrowed down the best possible solution to the design challenge you defined earlier.
As you practice thinking like a designer, it’ll start to reflect in all your work, regardless of what you’re doing. Design Thinking will help you solve any challenge innovatively, efficiently and quickly.
Product design is a process that progresses from an idea to reality in stages.
Whether you’re designing a simple tool or a complex automobile, it all starts with an idea. And what’s the best way (and the fastest) to put down your idea on a paper?
You sketch it out.
To sketch is to design.
Sketching is an important aspect of product design and development. However, not many designers pay to sketch the respect it deserves. It’s just an afterthought.
There’s a lot of back and forth that happens between the various design stages. As the idea matures and needs refinement, sketching can become an invaluable part of your job as a designer.
Put ideas quickly on paper.
Charting down ideas immediately on paper is the most efficient way to evaluate them and see whether they’re worth exploring further.
It only takes a few seconds to sketch your idea. If you’re not satisfied with it, you can refine it or move on to the next idea immediately. Plus, it’s a great feeling to get the idea out of your head and have it on paper.
It’s natural for a group to lose focus and become disillusioned when you first present your design concept. Communicating what’s in your head with just words is extremely difficult, especially when you’re trying to put forward a visual idea. Sketching helps you to convey your design ideas to everyone in a simple manner.
Furthermore, sketches from team members can be reviewed and compared to consolidate the best ideas. Based on the features required, these ideas can be further refined to select the best design for your product.
It saves time.
Sketching saves a lot of time. Your first idea is rarely the best one. Thus, if you need to revise your sketch, it only takes a few seconds to update it or draw a new one. Doing the same on a computer may take hours, if not more.
Moreover, it’s a quick way to get client feedback and move ahead with a mutually accepted idea. The more time you save deciding on an idea, the better you can refine it further. It’s all a matter of prioritizing, and sketching helps you with that immensely.
It’s easy and fun.
Sketching is for everyone. It’s a universal language which everyone can understand. Anyone can sketch ideas and become involved with the product design process. A few basic shapes, lines, arrows, and stick figures are all you need to get started with sketching. Once you discover how easy and enjoyable it is, you won’t ever look back!
Sketching is a powerful communication tool.
Complex design problems are hard to solve without fleshing out the intricate details. Sketching helps you resolve them by fishing out the best ideas. That’s one of the major reasons why sketching will always remain an important aspect of product design and development.
If you have any experiences with sketching within the product design process, please share them with the Launchpad community.
Being a designer is the ambition of many children. Given the proliferation of technology in our everyday lives, it’s not surprising that many choose to tread this path.
From social media and animated movies to mobile games and apps, children are exposed to design in every facet of their lives these days. The inspiration to be a designer can come from any place. As a dutiful parent, it’s your job to make them realize their ambitions and help them find out whether designing is really apt for them.
Unlike science and maths, which are the prerequisites for getting into engineering or medicine fields, designing is mostly a creative venture. It cannot be quantified by raw knowledge or the marks you score in any given subject.
The first step to help your kid become a designer is to identify whether they’re really interested in design.
So, how exactly do you go about doing that?
It’s simple. You notice whether they like drawing or building things and are inclined towards solving problems. Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to encourage your kid to embrace design. Just like with any other skill, it must be honed and perfected through practice. This is where you can play an important role.
Here are a few tips for you:
1.Teach them how to draw
Drawing is one of the most essential skills to be a designer. Unfortunately, most kids, even those who’re interested in drawing, never move past their first attempt. That’s ‘cause it may seem difficult initially.
Luckily, there are many amazing things that can be drawn very easily. And there are numerous online tutorials to teach the same. With your help and support, your kid will learn how to draw basic shapes and objects in no time.
2. Give them more freedom to explore
Don’t pressure your kid to be a designer. Give him/her the freedom to explore the field on their own terms. If they’re happy just colouring and painting, let them be. Some kids may prefer playing with Legos. That’s OK too.
Creativity has no bounds. As long as your kid is creating stuff – no matter what – they’re being creative. Your responsibility as a parent and as a teacher is to play a supportive role. Be their anchor!
3. Inspire them to learn
Provide your kid with subtle inspirations in their environment. Maybe you can leave comic books lying around your house and see whether he/she likes to read it. Sketching and colouring books are a good idea too.
Or you can try watching an inspiring documentary with them. Even visiting a zoo, museum or planetarium is inspiring for kids. The choices are aplenty.
However, inspiration without the right tools is a dud. Kids also need access to good pens, pencils, books and any other instruments to channel their creativity. Give them that. Though, don’t go overboard with them.
4. Lead by examples
Don’t just order them to draw something. One of the major reason so many kids hate studying is that they are forced excessively to do so. Lead by example, teach them how to recreate their imagination on paper, teach them the importance of communication via art.
5. Design schools
Every parent is able to invite some level of creativity in their child. But, in case you have reached your limit or are unable to organise their learning process, do consider enrolling them in a good design school. Enrollment can be done either offline or online, depending on how your child feels comfortable.
If your child is comfortable with learning online “Launchpad Academy” offers counselling and some of the best courses in the country. Also, it’s one of the few institutes that network with some of the best-known designers in the country.
6. Show them “what could be” and teach them “how to”
Show them what could be achieved if they learn to design their ideas on paper and teach them how to do it. Show them what has been created by the designers in the world around us, and how they have impacted our lives.
Only when your kid knows the what, why and how of designing, will you be able to make them willingly take up the subject.
7. Make it a habit
Persistence is the key to achieve anything that you desire. Kids learn by repetition, hence keep reminding them to practice until it becomes there habit. Just like good handwriting, a good design can only come from someone who practices enough.
In this article , Ian Cullam , Director of Design at Jaguar gives young students and professionals interested in car design some important tips to secure a job at jaguar in the design department. These tips are universal and would help any student of car design who is currently in the process of job hunt or preparation of portfolio.
Today a career in car design job is much more competitive than when I first started my automotive career. It’s critical that you stand out from the crowd. Here are my top tips when applying for a job here at Jaguar.
1. A killer portfolio is key
When I first arrived at Jaguar, I received a portfolio once every few months. Now we’re getting at least one a week, from all over the world. Portfolios say a lot; they are the first point of contact. Some of the books I get are beautifully made; they’re like coffee table books, but it’s the content that really counts. I can tell from four or five pages how good somebody is. It should show the thought process, with sketches and quick ideas, right through to a fully rendered car. Remember I don’t need to see your life story in drawings (although I do sometimes get it!).
2. Write a killer cover letter to go with it
Remember that your portfolio is going to land on my desk with lots of others. A cover letter is a must. This needs to be succinct, showing an understanding of Jaguar. Give me an indication of your genuine interest in not just being a designer, but being a Jaguar designer.
Before you go for an interview, you should find out about Jaguar. Find out about the person who will interview you. Who are they? What do they do? What are their interests? This gives you the advantage of knowing how to deal with them, because you deal with people according to their character. We all do.
Ian cullam sketch
3. Demonstrate creative thinking and drawing ability
I am often asked what qualities I look for in a designer. The most important mental skill is to be creative and to be able to think laterally. That’s the first thing I look for in any designer. The main physical skill I’m looking for is your ability to draw. Drawing is how we communicate.
4. Be yourself down to the last detail
First impressions are everything. I’m not necessarily expecting you to turn up in a three-piece-suit or a shirt and tie. People can present themselves in all sorts of different ways. You have to present your character as you really are. Designers look at details. I know a very famous entrepreneur who, when he sees people for the first time, looks at the heels of their shoes. Be aware that people are looking at these details. Don’t take the chance.
5. Be interesting and interested
Be prepared for what you want to say. You’ve got to be clear about what you want out of the job; not just financial benefit but real personal gain. The best candidates are interesting to talk to, and leave me wanting to know more. That’s always fascinating. However, I have interviewed people who just won’t stop talking. It’s nerves a lot of the time. Don’t be nervous, we’re all human. Be concise and listen.
Don’t forget to smile. It’s all about human interaction and a smile says so much about somebody.
6. Be a team player
We need an eclectic mix of people who fit into a team. I don’t have time for overly-confident, single-minded people. I used to be one of those people who could only work on my own, and that’s why I left Ford when I did, to set up my own design studio with “me, myself and I”. But since I have arrived at Jaguar, the most important thing I’ve learnt is to manage teamwork. A car is made up of thousands of parts and no one person can work alone with such a magnitude of work.
I say to my team “leave your ego at the door”. Of course every designer has an ego. Of course every designer wants to get their design up front. I’m quite happy with that. I’m not asking them to forfeit their design for the sake of teamwork. I’m asking them to understand that everybody in the team has something to offer and they must respect that. I don’t mind individuals with an individual character, but remember you are part of a team.
7. Show your love of learning and improving
The most important thing to remember is that your latest work is not necessarily your best and even if you think it at the time, it will get better. That is what makes a good designer.
There’s a lovely quote from Thomas Edison which I utterly believe in: “When you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.”
Ian Callum at Jaguar Launch
About Ian Culla
Ian Callum, RDI, Jaguar Director of Design, was born in Dumfries, Scotland. Ian attended a course in Industrial Design at Glasgow School of Art, followed by a 2-year course in Automobile Design at the Royal College of Art.
Ian spent the first 12 years of his career at Ford Design Studios, where he contributed to the creation of the Escort RS Cosworth and the Ghia Via Concept. Later, as Chief Designer of TWR Design, he was responsible for the Aston Martin DB7 and Vanquish.
Ian joined Jaguar in 1999 but continued to manage Aston Martin Design, developing the DB9 as well as directing Jaguar Design where he and his team created, amongst others, the R-Coupe, RD-6 and C-X75 concepts. Heralding an exciting new era for the brand, each car takes the design theme further and continues to reinforce Jaguar as a creator of ‘fast, beautiful cars.’ The first new model was the XK, followed by the XF and XJ. In September 2012 the much-anticipated F-TYPE was launched, Jaguar’s first 2-seater sports car since the iconic E-Type. This was followed later by the Jaguar XE, which Ian designed for a very competitive segment. A bold statement for Jaguar using Ian’s established design philosophy.
If you love cars and are interested in designing them, our Diploma in Car Design course is the perfect choice for you to get started on your journey towards becoming a car designer.
6 design talents will be selected to work, for 6 months, in an existing Renault Design Studio. At the end of internship program, Job offers will be made to 1 or 2 participants.
Renault Design always has had a close to Design school students.
RENAULT has been sponsoring projects or doing workshops about Car Design & Design Management and encouraging design talent.
With the Design Academy , Renault had decided to go one step to train young talents, select the best and put them together in one of our foreign Design Studio under the mentorship of their top designers .
There will be several project briefings and meetings and presentation to top management
Renault will give a project, based on which a final offer will be made to the best candidate.
All finalists will get a certificate and the two best ones will receiva permanent real designer job offer.
About the Renault Design Academy
The Design Academy project was organized by Renault Design and developed under the lead of Project Director Patrick Lecharpy (VP Advanced Design and Head of Renault Design India studios) and Project Manager Luciano Bove, (Design Academy Head of Program and Advanced Design Manager).
Design Academy will accept applications from any ex design school student (undergraduate & postgraduate).
However; candidates must have no more than 2 years after their graduation day, candidates have never worked before, candidates who might have had already one or more internships.
Candidates must have a high comprehension & written level of the English language
Candidates must send their CV + Portfolio in PDF light format (no more than 4MB) via the website .
Selected candidates will be contacted by Renault as soon as possible.
Candidates must have a valid Passport
The Design Academy will be held at Renault Design Studio in Chennai India.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Launchpad Students to especially those with a postgraduate degree to work with Renault and we encourage each and every one of our students in the car design program to apply to this.The key skills to focus is car sketching skills. Please contact if you need any help in applying to the program.