Introduction to Design Thinking

Design is everywhere.

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

Design thinking process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test

1. Empathise

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.

2. Define

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.

3. Ideate

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.

4. Prototype

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.

5. Build

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.   

   

6. Test

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.

Start early by encouraging your kid’s designing affinity. Must-Reads: How to Encourage Your Kid to Be a Designer

Top 5 Kitchen Design Software Tools

Since the introduction of CAD software in the 1980s, the interior design industry has adopted these tools to design and visualize interiors better. But even within the interior design industry, kitchen design occupies a unique position. Unless most of other furniture and decor, kitchen cabinets are not usually directly purchased from retail shops and placed in the customer’s house. Every kitchen has different requirements, thus making it imperative to create a good visual design before the manufacturing can start.

This is where specialized Kitchen design software comes into the picture. These software allow designers to create beautiful looking and functional kitchens in a fast and easy way. Nowadays, these software provide a lot more functionality than just creating designs. Some of these software offer post design features like Bill of Materials generations, cutting list generation, etc as well.

Here are the top 5 kitchen design software available in the market today, which will empower you to work as a kitchen designer – 

 

1. Infurnia

Infurnia is a completely online kitchen design software. Besides all the advantages of cloud-based software, like data backups & mobility, Infurnia is also one of the easiest and fastest kitchen design software to use. Using Infurnia, you can create kitchens of any shape and size. Infurnia offers a huge built-in library of cabinets, but the main power of the software comes from the fact that every single cabinet is completely customizable in every way.

Infurnia also offers cloud-based High-Quality rendering service. Infurnia’s web-based 3D design sharing is also a new addition to this industry and makes it easy to showcase your designs to remote customers. Infurnia offers post design features like production drawings, Bill of Materials(BOM), pricing quotations, and cutting list as well.

Price – $ 500 per year

Kitchen Design Software - Infurnia

Infurnia

2. 2020 Design

2020 Design is the Kitchen and Bath Design Software developed by 2020 technologies. 2020 Design is an offline only software. 2020 Design provides great tools for creating beautiful kitchens. The major USP of 2020 Design is the massive catalog of built-in furniture objects. You can customize the cabinets after adding them also. 2020 Design allows you a lot of control over the lighting conditions in the room, thus allowing you to create beautiful designs. 2020 Design is most commonly used by professionals in the North America market. 2020 Design doesn’t allow you to create new 3d models within the software.

Price ~ $1800

2020 Design

2020 Design

3. ArredoCAD

ArredoCAD is one of the more expensive software in the kitchen design industry. It offers powerful kitchen design features. It is a very powerful software but it’s not the easiest software to use on this list. The main advantage of ArredoCAD is its powerful rendering engine which generates very high quality rendered images. ArredoCAD also has a very large catalog of furniture built into the software itself. ArredoCAD also allows you to create some basic 3d models using linear or round shapes.

Price ~ $650 per year

ArredoCAD

ArredoCAD

4. KD Max

KDMax software is built solely for Kitchen and wardrobe designing. This software is not as feature-rich as some of the others on this list, but its relatively easy to use. You can create any kind of floor plan and then use the built-in cabinets to create the kitchen design. KDMax also offers post design features like cutting list and BOM generation. KDMax has a built-in rendering engine which provides a good quality HD renders of your designs.

Price ~ $500 per year

KDMAX

KDMax

5. Chief Architect

Chief Architect is a full-fledged interior design software, but it also has a very good kitchen design tool built into it. It is the most complex software out of all the above, so it provides you with more options but it also comes with a much steeper learning curve. Being an interior design software first, ChiefArchitect does not offer deep post design features like production drawings, optimized cutting lists, etc. Chief Architect offers a very comprehensive tutorial video package on their site for new users.

Price ~ $1995

Chief Architect

Chief Architect

 

Conclusion – Besides these top software, you can also use 3D software like SketchUp to design kitchens. KCDW is another cheaper option for kitchen design, although its 2D only drawings are not as visually impressive to a client as the other software listed above.

 

 

Love decorating houses?
Want to be a professional Interior Designer?
If yes, then we might have the course tailor-made for you! Join our ‘Diploma in Interior Design‘ online course today!

INTRODUCING OUR NEW DESIGN FACULTY : ARUN KUMAR

Arun

 

 We are Happy to introduce and welcome our new mentor to Launchpad Academy.

Arun is a passionate creative with varied interest ranging from  Car Design , Design Sketching , Motor Sports, Travel and Adventure  .  He is graduate of MIT Institute of Design and has a post graduate degree in Transportation Design from  Istituto Europeo di Design(IED),  Turin.  Arun had also interned and worked at companies like Mahindra , Elixi apart from running his own Design Studio.

Arun has participated in many international design contests and his work has got wide spread coverage in International media.  He is skilled in freehand sketching, Marker rendering, Photoshop/ALIAS and he also likes to build stuff using Clay,MDF and wood. At Launchpad Arun will be creating content and delivering  online and classroom courses as well as workshops all over the world.  Please keep following our page for more updates on this . Meanwhile some of Arun’s work is displayed below.

P. S : We are launching a new classroom course in Bangalore with Arun, If you are interested, please leave a comment with your contact details or email us on info@launchpadacademy.in

 

sports car arun

 

Sketching Portfolio

Sketching Portfolio

 

Launchpad Academy

Launchpad Academy

 

Top 5 Interior Design Software Tools

If everything is digital today, why not interior design then? Today, even an entry-level designer is expected to be aware of more than one computer aided design (CAD) tool to design and plan interiors. Hand drawn designs are out of fashion and literally no one prefers them, especially employers and interior design firms looking for interior designers.

Compared to the traditional method of hand-drawn designs and renderings, it is a lot easier to design and redesign using these software tools as they enable innumerable iterations. In addition, the output is simply better and hyper realistic when compared to the former, thus making it easy for interior designers to visualize and express their ideas better.

Here’s a list of the top 5 interior design software tools employers expect their interior designers to be well versed with.

1. SketchUp
Formerly known as Google SketchUp while it was under the ownership of Google from 2006 to 2012, this popular 3D modeling computer program is one of the most basic interior design software tool to begin with. Known for its easy to learn and use interface, SketchUp is available in two versions, SketchUp Make (freeware version) and SketchUp Pro (paid version). SketchUp comes with an online open source library of free model assemblies called 3D Warehouse and supports third party plugins to improve the functionality of the software. However, considering its basic nature, interior designers often face difficulty in modeling complex surfaces and visualizing complex 3D models using SketchUp.

SketchUP

SketchUP

2. Autodesk 3Ds Max

Moving on with interior design software tools that are simple in functionality and easy to learn, 3Ds Max from Autodesk is another popular one under the category. Used by interior design students as well as professional interior designers, Autodesk 3Ds Max provides excellent tools for rendering, simulating and visualizing interiors. Though the software is pretty easy to begin with and getting used to, it includes a ton of functionalities and also offers a flexible plugin architecture to support many third party applications. Study material and tutorial videos are abundantly available on the internet making 3Dx Max more easy to learn.

Autodesk 3Ds Max

Autodesk 3Ds Max

3. Autodesk AutoCad
Moving up the complexity ladder, Autodesk AutoCad is one of the most essential but difficult software tools used in interior design. Regardless of its complexity, AutoCad is a very popular software that is used in almost all architectural and interior design firms, making it a must learn software tool for interior designers. Known for its hyper realistic details and high productivity tools, AutoCad was once Autodesk’s most popular product. Adding, AutoCad offers excellent tools for 3D animation and visualization of interiors to realize hyper realistic and detailed visions of the proposed design plan.

Autodesk AutoCad

Autodesk AutoCad

4. Autodesk Revit
Another Autodesk product, Autodesk Revit unlike the above mentioned is exclusively for architects and interior designers. Highly technical in nature, Autodesk Revit is a building design and construction software that enables professionals to digitally construct buildings and models with a consistent and coordinated model-based approach. Specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), Revit allows to create plans, elevations and sections in a quick manner. To be a successful interior designer, creativity alone won’t suffice; but you have to master over highly technical software tools like Revit as well.

Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit

5. Infurnia
Infurnia is the most in-depth and feature-rich online interior design software available in the market right now. It’s the world’s first cloud-based interior design software built specifically for professional designers. With Infurnia, designers can create detailed multi-story floor plans in both 2d and 3d. The designing is done mainly in 3D with customization options available for all kinds of furniture. Designers can create detailed kitchen design by customizing cabinets’ size, finish, etc.

With its catalog management features, Infurnia also provides designers with an easy-to-use and systematic way of uploading their own furniture models, hardware models, finishes, etc. Infurnia provides different kinds of rendering like 3D image renders, panoramic renders, and VR renders.

Infurnia - Interior Design Software

Infurnia

Apart from the above mentioned top interior design software, we would like to make a few more notable mentions which are actively used by interior designers.

1. Photoshop
2. Archicad
3. Ikea Home Planner
4. Sweet Home 3D

 

 

Love decorating houses?
Want to be a professional Interior Designer?
If yes, then we might have the course tailor-made for you! Join our ‘Diploma in Interior Design‘ online course today!

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