Episode from the podcastLate Nights with Trav and Los

The Full Process

Released Tuesday, 11th August 2015
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The Full Process


Eddy said that the whole time He was thinking “Process” — as in big company bureaucracy and red tape. It's not about that. I want to talk about the Creative Process.

Why have a process at all?


I get emails a lot from people who are frustrated with their own work.


  • This is partially the crucible of creative education. Just the fact that you do suck and you need just to do the work and get better with time.



  • The other part is that they are not working the right way. It’s like trying to drive to disneyland with a map of Texas, or no map at all.

    • trying to design before all the questions are answered

    • I sometimes get comments from people complaining about the first few videos of my start to finish series because we don’t touch code until the fourth video.




Some Reasons


  1. Remove the stress of creating Ex nihilo (out of nothing)

  2. Prepares your mind for creative influences

  3. the process can actually be the source of the solution

  4. Makes it easier to work with a team

  5. Showing process gives more credibility to your client or boss

  6. Helps you to be organized and to maintain many projects at once

  7. more



What is the process?


Discover -> Make -> Observe -> Repeat ->

|——––––––––––– ask questions –––––––––––|

"To follow the process you need to calm down and follow the process"


1. Discover


On the Wistia blog Jeff Vincent remarks that “your initial meeting, or creative discovery call, is the first – and most important – step to collaborating on a creative project. This meeting lays the groundwork for you and your client’s working relationship, outlines your process, and establishes the direction your [ project ] will take.” [source]

In the discovery phase you need to

  • determine success metrics

  • identify stakeholders

  • determine the target audience
    • develop empathy for them. learn to care about what they care about.


  • nail the core message

  • gather inspiration

  • make a plan for the production phase

  • DOCUMENT!



2. Make


This is where your unique skill, vision, and value come into play. Just make stuff.

3. Observe


This is where you take your creation and you ask the hard questions. Compare the results to your success metrics. Did you succeed?

None of this should be a surprise you you because in the process you need to be asking questions the whole time. But this is the phase where you really test your ideas. Put your prototypes in the hands of users. Do some multivariate testing.

Tim Ferriss famously printed his book cover options out and took them to the local book store. He sat with a counter and clicked it when ever someone picked up that cover design. After a few tries he had a winner. Have you seen the cover? It looks like crap, but it works. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s pretty, it matters if it works. He wasn’t trying to impress people on dribble, he was trying to sell books. It’s different.

I got a question in an email last week. “how do you know that some design is right when you work alone? Do you have some procedure you follow?”

I said: “Usually before you start designing you have a set of requirements or goals. If your design meets those requirements then it is a success. Easy!”

His reply: “You know is not that simple. :)”

4. Repeat


Repeat doesn’t need to be at the end. Repeat is a theme that happens through out, just as you are asking questions throughout the whole project you are committing to a cycle of question, try, test, repeat. Micro cycles and macro cycles.

Eddy says me: “is point #4 doable in the real-world?? A full-process designer is more concerned with process than outcomes, trusting that good process will always lead to good outcomes. What if you do some work and you learn that you had some incorrect initial assumptions?”

So yes, this process accounts for that because you should be using it on the micro and macro level, asking questions throughout, discovering, making, observing and repeating.
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