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How Graphic Designers Solve Design Problems In Any Project

By October 24, 2017January 18th, 2021Advertising, Graphic Design

If you want to increase your efficiency in your visual communication, look no further than Problem Solving.

While the ability of a designer to solve a communication problem is usually touted as a great way to increase product visibility and brand mention, it’s excellent for a designer to cultivating the creation of this solution.

The better your creative notch of solving problem naturally, the easier it is in solving a design project.

But there’s more instance where some of the actions are learned.

Has there ever been an instant where you stopped to think about how you’ll work on a project to solve the problem?

You need to be in synergy with your creative process in developing solutions and value to your clients.

In this guide, I’ll show you the several ways in which you can improve your problem-solving in visual identity project.

Let’s jump in


1. Thinking About the User’s / Audience

Understanding the user is the essence of the Design Thinking Process.

It is plain and simple.

The focus of design thinking is neither on the designer nor the client, it’s on the very end-user/audience.
If you can’t gain insights by understanding the user’s needs, thoughts, emotions, and motivations, then they won’t be convinced that they need your product or service.

People don’t think they need your product until you convince them that they do. This requires an understanding of the user and provide a value proposition.

Value propositions are designed to explain to the user what value they will derive from your product or service.

There’s a simple method I’ve used to understand users and create value propositions in the past.

It’s a basic principle that can help you deliver value and benefit to your user.

Engaging with people directly reveals a tremendous amount about the way they think and the values they hold. Sometimes these thoughts and values are not obvious to the people who hold them.

Designers have to consider alongside this audience for everything they do from the start of any project. Instead of merely working with an imaginary audience ? the design process and the insight from users may determine the impact of the design colour preference, the choice of type and imagery and how it can help better communicate with your audience.

If you want to convey more value to the end-user, you need to seek to understand them, and not to persuade.
So, the trick in problem-solving is to design for the right target user.


2. Consider the Context

Design Thinking within a context should be a constant strive.

If you’re focused on providing value through your product or service, developing it within the context would be a necessity.

In striving to understand your users/audience than providing contextual inquiry is your best solution.

With contextual inquiry, you get to a store, and walk through the product sections, and experience the compelling effort of your brand to sell. In doing so the designer discovers unmet needs and surface the area that pain your brand strategy effort.

For example, developing a brand image on the basis of your context also helps identify problems across an entire customer journey.

To illustrate this further for services, the designer explores the whole customer experience, exposing what users feel to be that experience’s high points and low points. Then it’s the designer’s job to fix the low points.

According to Dr John Farris, A customer’s satisfaction with a product depends on the context of its use.

How To Write A Good Design Brief That Will Actually Drive Results


3. Focus on The Final Product

Picture yourself interacting with the final product will show you several ways in which you can improve your project and make the most of your existing concepts.

In fact, in trying to provide a solution to the picture of the end product may help you in the design concept and creating a prototype.

Whether it is a logo, business card, label on a water bottle, or a website user’s/audience will often look at the touch of the design and the experience.

How does it work? The usefulness of the design?

The problem with that is your final product efforts may not always link back to the design process.

That means you’ll have to come up with other metrics and ways to reflect on the creative brief and the design process to justify all of the time and money spent on Project.

You should consider functionality followed by aesthetics in solving a problem in this manner.


4. Single Solution May Never Be Enough

Good designers try to generate as many possible solutions as they can before choosing the best option. This creative process of developing ideas can be sum up with one-word Ideation.

In reality, the Ideate stage should stir developing multiple solutions.

And, in any creative process, the end result may look like one of the early concepts, a mixture of concepts or none of it at all.

This kind of dynamic and flexibility nature to evolve is a key trait of most design professionals.

Overall, building a prototype, examining existing solutions, creating and using analogies, conducting brainstorming sessions, sketching and doodling as ideation methods will likely help clarify the problem even more and offer new insights or new solutions that were not anticipated.

Rule #1: When creating alternative solutions – don’t settle for the very first single idea! I have pitched numerous design project proposal to clients, and the outstanding fact is what you preferably like, might be what your client like or something different.

So, every design project ought to provide an opportunity to try and develop a multitude of solutions.
This is where requesting collaborating and feedback comes from experience by your audience or user.


5. Invite feedback and collaboration

The design is nothing more than a series of decisions made to try and resolve a certain set of problems.

Some facts to note: the creative process changes and evolves as problems get resolved and new obstacles emerge.

So, instead of providing an explanation for your solutions, let users experience it on their own. Observing this interaction will help reveal important insights about what aspects of the solution are or are not working.

You can thereafter encourage users to ask questions and give their feedback about the experience.

Providing multiple solutions for the audience to compare is another useful technique to get more insight.

When clients work with a professional designer, what they really looking for is someone to guide them through their own business objectives and help them uncover potential solutions that may have been overlooked, dismissed, or misaddressed.

Feedback helps you learn more about your possible solutions and more about your audience.

Here are the 4 steps of how feedback should be delivered and in its context:

  • Taking a look back and going through each of the smaller processes as part of the greater whole will help make informed decisions.
  • As a designer, it’s important to contextualize what to look for is key. Once clients have an understanding of what it is they are looking at, and how it aims to achieve their goals, they can better provide feedback as to how well you are meeting those goals.
  • Everyone is able to see what is presented in front of them, but understanding why things are the way they are in the important thing.
  • What sort of feedback is to be expected? What are the points worth discussing. Designers need to be explicit in the type of feedback they need, and where it is required.

Depending on the direction of the feedback and from collaboration, for example, you may discover that you didn’t define the problem correctly or failed to understand your audience and need to go all the way back to the creative brief.

Alternatively, you might just need to refine the solutions a little. Most likely, this testing of the product with feedback will help you develop improved and/or advanced the prototype.

Likewise, collaboration in a design project is paramount.

Depending on the immense of a project, it may demand input along the way from other designers to ease the workflow. It may be prudent to ask for help as you gather feedback on the ideas, colour and type choices, imagery and function.


6. Get Down To Business

Great design concepts are not of use than when they are put down and implemented.

This is the time when you set your mind to work on a project and get it finished.

However, the best design is something that which was not ever part of the plan, so don’t block the thought process in trying to make the work done.

At times you would have to be detached from concepts and the ideas until they work in their proper context.

As design thinking facilitates effective communication with the user, it likewise helps to break through all the hurdles in finishing the job. As it is all about exploring, you experiment with ideation, critical thinking, aesthetic methods of problem-solving and rapid-prototyping.

Actually, nothing can speed up the creative process and innovation better. In a way, design thinking seeds your innovation ecosystem.

As you work on finishing a project be open to drives that make the work done such as listening to song or conversation.

7. Design Thinking Process


[mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none”]Design Thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation that draws from the designer?s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

? Tim Brown, Ideo President, and CEO



According to Tim Brown, thinking about the process and concepts of design thinking can help you understand and better figure out your own process.

Plus, there is a lot of thought on the concept of Design Thinking.

Design thinking takes form from imagination, intuition, logic and systematic reasoning to be able to provide the option of what could be best and also deliver results that satisfy the end-user.

It basically relies on designer’s sensibility and methods to fulfil people’s needs with what is technologically viable and brings to light business strategies that target both the market value and opportunity.

Design thinking process bears some common stages that may occur in a linear and nonlinear order.

These would include defining a project or problem, research, brainstorming and idea generation, design and prototyping, selection of ideas and concepts, design implementation and feedback and reviewing.

Simply design thinking reduces the ambiguity and risk present in innovation by involving the audience or users on a series of prototypes to find, test and improve concepts.

All this is done dwelling on the user’s mindsets and real-world experiments, therefore, you don’t have to be a designer to solve a design problem.


8. Stay inspired

Inspiration is a terrible thing to waste.

Although with inspiration it’s well known to strike at inopportune times: Whether it’s in the studio, on the SGR train the creative process knows no boundaries.

Being able to tune into those inspired moments is key to turning them into a reality.

If you want to tap inspiration into innovation there are habits that would be commended.

Take notes, browse galleries, look at award winners, talk to other designers and view their portfolios. Some of the best problem solving comes from gleaning design from those around us.

When you feel those creative sparkles, it’s time to get out the sketchbook and doodle some concepts.

Consider your very environ as a source of inspiration. Look around you for the design concept. What shapes and form surround you? How do the colours work together? And then talk about it.

Brainstorm this design concept and how it actually occur to you and others.


9. Consider Setting The Deadlines

There is nothing as important as the deadline in any design projects.

To be frank, never be certain a project will get started without the due date being set. This is how much the pressure gets the creative flow of work.

Starting from the top of your list, you categorize all your tasks by priority.

Some you’ll be able to do straight away others will have to wait. Some you’ll be able to give a deadline while others may be delegated to someone else.

As a designer, some of your tasks will already have specific deadlines for delivery to clients.

It’s handy to set up your own milestones along the way too, to keep you on track.

Remember to organize and reflect as it is an important part of the workflow – this means regularly checking your task list to see what needs to be done and adding items that aren’t there.


10. Choose an Option

If you’ve been in the design field for any amount of time, you would agree to settle for a design option after presenting to the client the possible solutions followed by refining and tweaking is essential in providing a strong visual identity.
When it comes to choosing an option, you would need to have conversations about the design with the client on the front end.
But if you are in a position to proceed to work on the project, strive to continue learning and think about the possibility of the design to evolve.

What design principles does the design have to mark it distinctive, appropriate, practical, simple in form and still communicate the intended message.

Is the design simple? Is it memorable? How long would the design endure the test of time? Is the design versatile in the various medium?

Having all of this creative brief will make the project run smoothly and will almost negate that feeling that you need to put together multiple options.

If you focus on the design thinking process, you will clearly see the solution to the design problem as you work through it.



Design Thinking way of solving a problem may be outlined as a direct and linear design process in which one stage seemingly leads to the next with a logical conclusion at the final product.

So, spending some time in understanding problem solving can be useful in expanding how you think about design generally.

If you want to succeed in solving a problem, you need to target your audience/ users correctly.

It can also open discussions with others who you could collaborate on the project or invite for feedback.

Lastly, as a designer change of patterns and adapting to new process mind.

New experiences new things or changes in the normal routine make you function at your highest level of creativity.

Changes can be as simple as taking an alternate route, listening to an insight or trying to work from a different space.


How do you approach a project when it comes to problem-solving?

Paul S

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.