Design Cycle


Identify the Problem:

You need to identify the problem for the task that has been presented to you. You could do this by any combination of:
  • Rewrite the task you have been asked to do in your own words.
  • Examine the problem in terms of the AOI.
  • Write research questions to help you decide what you need to find out.
  • Write a design brief. (a general statement of what you are going to make, why you are making it, and who it is for.)
  • Mention the AOI and how it shapes this design problem.

Develop the Design Brief

You need to research into the task and how you can solve it. You can do this by any combination of:

  • Product Analysis
    • Look at similar products for inspiration.
    • Analyze how others have solved this problem
    • Analysis should include: materials used, ergonomics, aesthetics, form and function and what design idea you could perhaps use.
  • Materials
    • What materials are best to use?
    • Why? What are the properties?
    • What materials are available?
  • Construction Techniques
    • How can you make it?
    • What skills do you need to know?
    • What tools do you need?
  • Surveys or Questionnaires
    • Who is this for? (Target Audience)
    • What do other people think/like/want/need?
  • Interviews
    • Ask an expert
    • Interview your intended users
You need to make sure that you are doing pertinent research for the investigation stage. This can include:
  • Brainstorms
    • A thinking toll to help decide things like: themes, needs, likes/dislikes
    • Mind/Idea maps: connecting information together using diagrams and images
  • Bibliography/Works Cited
    • All of your research needs to be cited! Books - Websites- People- Etc!

Formulate a Design Specification

You will need to formulate a design specification. You can do this by any combination of:
  • Select the most important information from your research
  • Create a list of requirements that you design must have
  • Describe how you could test your design. A test or set of test for each requirement that is listed.

(Additional Resources can be seen here: Design Brief and Design Specs, Design Problem and Brief )


Design a Product/Solution

The design section of the Design Cycle is where you create several different possibilities to solve the design problem. You need to create a range of designs for the product/solution and all design ideas need to be evaluated against the design specifications.
From the design that you have created, you will select the design that you think is the best. You then explain why your chosen design, the one you will create, is the best.


Plan a Product/Solution

Planning is an important part of the whole design process. You need to create a production plan. This is a step-by-step guide for creating your product/solution. It needs to be detailed enough so that someone else could follow it. It could include:
  • Drawings or Images to illustrate construction
  • Tools, equipment and possible skills needed (both big and small appliances and cookware!)
  • Materials List – This will include the types of materials and the size and number requirements of each type of material (think ingredients!)
  • A production time line or chart
When the production plan has been created, you need to evaluate your plan. Some possible evaluation questions might be:
  • Does it make good use of time and resources?
  • Could someone else follow it and make your design?
  • Is it logical (does it make good sense?)


Create the Product or Solution

During the create phase, while you are creating your final design, you need to document, with a series of photographs or a video and a dated record, the process or making your product/solution, including when and how they use tools, materials and techniques. You will need to follow the plan, to evaluate the plan and to justify any changes that you make to the plan while you are creating the product/solution.

Follow the Plan

While creating your product/solution you need to demonstrate that you are following the plan. Where changes to your plan need to be made, these are to be justified and evaluated when they happen.

These tasks are to be completed in the entries in your Process Journal.

Use Appropriate Techniques and Equipment

The create phase is where you create your product/solution. While creating your product/solution, you are to complete entries in your Process Journal. A Process Journal entry is to be completed each time you work on creating your product/solution.

In each entry in your Process Journal, you need to address the following items:

  • Describe what problems you encountered and how you solved them
  • Justify any changes you make to your design
  • Take photographs/video/screen shots to help explain the process

In your Process Journal entries, you can show evidence that you have used a range of appropriate techniques and equipment completely.


Evaluate the Product or Solution

Once your product/solution has been created, you need to evaluate it. You could do this by any combination of:

  • Preform your tests, that you created during the investigation/planning state, to evaluate the product/solution against the design specification
  • Evaluate the success of the product/solution in an objective manner based on testing, your own views and the views of the intended user
  • Evaluate the impact of the product/solution on the individuals and on society
  • Explain how the product/solution could be improved.

Evaluate the Use of the Design Cycle

As well as evaluating your product/solution, you need to evaluate your use of the Design Cycle.

  • Evaluate your performance at each stage of the design cycle
  • Suggest ways in which your performance could be improved