Designing in 7 steps

Hi, all!

Today, I’m going to share my design process with all of you. As some of you might have known, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design & am now professionally working as an aircraft interior designer. I was first taught about design methodology back in university. Throughout the 4 years there, I developed the habit of going through all these steps when designing.

Design process is the act of designing, the steps that you go through when you design something. Basically, all design processes are very similar to each other, with slight differences that distinguish one from another. But here, I’ll show you my design process, which, when broken down, consists of 7 basic steps:


Question everything & do some research. Assuming we are designing for someone that is not ourselves, we should learn more about the client. What are they like? Do they identify with certain elements, certain shapes, certain colors? What kind of design do they want us to make?

It’s important to know what they want & design around what they want. People come to designers because they have difficulty visualizing what they want, & I think it’s our job to visualize what they want by incorporating what we know & what they don’t know as designers.


Brainstorm, gather up ideas. A sketchbook comes in handy, but you can also use blank sheets of paper or post-its. Whatever is comfortable to you. While you learn more about your client, ideas will pop up in your head, so make sure to write/draw them down. Find words that are associated with your client, it’ll help you later in the next step.


Find references & inspiration. Coming from an interior design background, I usually look at interior designs of that the client has done in their other shops (in case of a franchise) or look up designers that they mention. Pinterest is a handy website when it comes to gathering references & inspirations.

No design is original, but that doesn’t mean we should copy someone else’s design. Rather, gather up what type of design you want to create & make them your reference. Come up with your ideas but do not copy.


Sketch out your ideas. This is a very vital part in the design process (& it happens to be my favorite!). Sketch the ideas of the design you want to create. For example, you can create endless possibilities of posters for a band that has commissioned you to make a poster design for them. From those infinite sketches, you’ll be able to pick the best options to later work out with.


Design the design! This is the main part of it all. The designing part. My advice is that you take a maximum of 3 options from your sketches and make designs out of those sketches. When you finished designing, you’ll be able to pick the best design out of the 3 that you chose.


Let them revise your design. Of course, since you’re designing for someone, you should let that person revise what you have done & see if it fits their needs & wants. My advice is to present only one design option, because even with only one design option, there will be more revisions to come because of certain things that they see that lacks.

On certain occasions, you might be asked to present more than one option. If that’s the case, do present more than one but never exceed 3. If there are too many options, the client will mostly be confused rather than focused on the design that they want.

You’ll go back & forth between steps 4 to 6. There are usually a lot of revisions, but don’t worry. The main objective is to create the best design output.


The last part would be the output. The output of the design should (in a perfect world) satisfy both the designer & the client. But keep in mind that usually someone in the team will be dissatisfied. “It would have been better if it’s done like this” or “Maybe we should have chosen yellow instead of white” typically happens. And that’s okay, as long as it’s minor. If it’s major… then something missed along the way & you need to rework it. (or not; that depends between your & your client)

I use this methodology when designing both for work or for personal interests. I like to write fictional stories, so I like to imagine their interiors as well & create quick 3D visualizations. This process is imprinted in my mind, so I automatically design like this. You can even see in my Pinterest page that I have a lot of boards for different projects, as they help me visualize what I really want to create.

A quick visualization I made for a novel character.
An "I-almost-killed-my-5-year-old-laptop-for-rendering-this" visualization, after elaborate steps taken in designing
An “I-almost-killed-my-5-year-old-laptop-for-rendering-this” visualization, after elaborate steps taken in designing

See you in the next post 🙂



(I use my own quick illustrations in this post 😉 )


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