Design thinking: what is it and how does it work?

Buzzwords. Those marketing guys love it. User experience, ideation, co-creation, prototyping and design thinking. OMG, right? Although we at Maquina are not exactly fans of such a game of buzzword bingo, we are in favour of the last term in the above list.

design thinking. In short: think like a designer to also solve non-design related problems. In the blog post below we briefly explain what, how and why you should consider it.

Think like a designer

Think like a designer who uses the magazine fonts. That is the basis of design thinking (or what did you think). To explain exactly why this can be useful for your brand or communication plan, let’s start with a few quotes:

Good design is as little design as possible

That doesn’t seem obvious? The basis of good graphic design is to distinguish between main and side issues. Designers are therefore trained to extract the important points from a text, photo or briefing and to put them in the spotlight. This is a first way of thinking that is seen under design thinking: focusing on the main things, and then looking at which things add value when they are added.

This quote immediately teaches us the primary goal of design (and therefore also design thinking): developing a working solution. Only when you have determined which strategy you will use to achieve a goal can you think about the shape, graphics and finish of the tool. As a result, you are, as it were, forced to think from the solution, and only then to the details of its implementation. You will find that when you use this way of thinking, you get results that better fit your original question.

Design should never say ‘look at me’. It should always say ‘look at this’.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Design thinking is in contrast to thinking from, for example, the technical possibilities. If you start a brainstorm with the idea that the solution must fit into what seems technically easy to solve, you are immediately much more limited in the possibilities. Design thinking looks for a solution for the users of your service or product. So, your customers. Solutions can always be found for technical feasibility or for fitting into existing tools or patterns.

Of course, we do not pretend here that you have to reinvent the wheel for every problem. By thinking from your customers’ usage pattern, you approach problems and issues from a more open and, above all, more realistic view, so that the tool that will eventually be developed will achieve better results. Henry Ford, who you know from his eponymous cars, quickly realized this. He not only looked at the demand of his target group, but also at the need of their demand: to move themselves faster, more efficiently and more comfortably. This visionary way of thinking resulted on the one hand in the legendary quote above, and on the other hand in a brand that is still rock-solid today.

Or does it not stop yet?

No! Indeed, design thinking does not stop when the design has been delivered and the tools have been distributed. It still needs to be tested with variable fontsThe proof of the pudding is in the eating, you know.

The executed campaign is monitored and evaluated during and after its term, in order to make adjustments where possible. We will take the lessons learned into the future for a possible follow-up campaign. We keep track of the success factors in order to reuse or even strengthen them. This is how we grow together with our customers to impressive results. And that is the best possible outcome for both you as a customer and for us as a creative agency.

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