Graphic Design

Successful design strategies

The design strategies that we choose are crucial to a project’s success – a strategy that initially looks good but that proves to be difficult to implement is not a good strategy. Many projects fail because the strategy proves to be too ambitious and breeches the agreed constraints.

Consider the 80/20 rule – often we can solve 80% of the problem with only 20% of the resources, the other 80% of the resources being needed to cater for what may be considered inconsequential factors. This initial consideration may influence all subsequent thinking.

Characteristics of successful designs…
  • meet the agreed objective(s)
  • solve the defined problem(s)
  • are technically feasible
  • are developed (and operate) within constraints
  • are capable of implementation
  • can absorb medium term business growth
  • are acceptable to the user community

We may fear…

  • making mistakes
  • looking foolish
  • being criticised
  • being alone
  • being outcast
  • disturbing tradition
  • being associated with taboos
  • We may also suffer from…
  • left brain dominance
  • incompatible objectives
  • hostility

We may also suffer from…

  • left brain dominance
  • incompatible objectives
  • hostility

The creative Design Process


Is used to investigate an idea. It can be made from cheap or scrap materials. It is used to visualise an idea and to help reach a solution. You may make several before you find the best solution. You might use it to check sizes and proportions, or to discover if an idea will perform as required. For example, designing a seed propagator, which can be sold as a flat pack, which can be disassembled when not in use for easy storage.


is a model, which resembles exactly the final object. It is made to confirm that the best solution has been achieved. A prototype is made with a great deal of care and accuracy. A range of techniques and tricks are used, so that visually it is difficult to distinguish the prototype from the real thing. Some prototype really work, others are just visually identical e.g. designing a simple device that can be used to pick up small steel objects, such as pins and needles.


Used to explain an idea or a principle, to prove that the final product will work. The key factor is that they should operate the same way as the final product. Demonstration models can be used to describe how a system operates, whether it is mechanical, hydraulic, or pneumatics. In this case Fischer Technic or Lego Dacta kits can be used to model up an idea quickly.


  • (a) They are sometimes easier and quicker to produce than working drawings.
  • (b) They can be moved about and viewed from various angles.
  • (c) In a model, problems such as stability, ease of use and whether it will work, are usually more obvious.
  • (d) Models can be touched.
  • (e) Errors are usually obvious and can be corrected.