How quick, failure oriented design sprints can benefit your clients.
What is design sprinting?
As it sounds, sprinting is fast. It’s about generating a visual solution and then moving onto new ones in rapid succession. As little time as possible is spent on each sketch or exploration.
How do I sprint?
- Set some rules — setting visual restrictions like picking certain drawing tools, colors, material to work with, typefaces, etc. helps to focus a sprint.
- Set a time restriction — time limits around 30 minutes or less work best. Overly long sprints lead to frustration.
- Go! — get as many ideas out as possible. Try new materials, not just pencil and paper. Think wrong, be creative, forget about good and have fun!
- Sprint more than once — quick sessions multiple times in a day keeps your game sharp.
- Review — once you’ve got a body of work to share with your team view them together and discard the ones that aren’t viable options.
Designer’s often face a perplexing question when a new project comes in the door: What direction to take? Or better yet, figuring out which directions not to take. When starting out it’s easy to follow typical design patterns. Sprinting frees a designer’s mind to attempt unfamiliar approaches while reducing the risk of wasted time. The result is a refreshing fracture in the creative shell. Once a few sprints have been completed it’s easy to review and walk away from impractical visual options — clearing the path towards better ones quickly. This I call productive failure. A necessary visual experimentation when forging the framework of a brand.
Things to Consider
Keep in mind that when a new project comes through the door, you’re never just sprinting out there in left field by yourself. You and your team should have a process (see, for example, AWP’s brand articulation process) capable of thoroughly articulating what your client needs to accomplish with what you’re designing. This will give all your sprinting a productive tension that can be better evaluated when you bring your most promising experiments back to the team.
Failure Leads to Success
A design project needs to be pushed to its limits. In the context of brand identity there can be an overload of directions to choose from at the start of a project. The most viable options love to hide beneath hundreds of sketches and failed experiments. It takes a lot of hard work to get uncomfortable, think wrong, and design in new and unfamiliar ways. Through this rapid process you’ll be fast-tracked towards a successful design, and a happy client.