Different types of Design


Before getting into this subject, let’s first talk about the definition of design. If we search for the meaning in dictionaries, we will have answers such as “to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan” or “to conceive and plan out in the mind”. Designing is a mixture between art and science, resulting in the process of envisioning and planning the creation of something. It’s objective, and it takes methodical planning and research focused on the user as the main target of the final result. Design is present everywhere. For example, when you are looking to buy the home of your dreams, you may not realize this, but the Real Estate website you’re looking at such as the homes you go visit or the flyers you might pick up… They are all result of the calculated and objective designing process that someone thought of specially for you.

In this article, we will talk about 10 different types of design, that we can see present everywhere in our daily life:

1 – Architectural Design – It’s the creative process for living spaces. Mixing the disciplines of architecture and design, the main goal is to get to the perfect combination of the technological and aesthetic. In this case, an architect job would be presenting technical concepts and solutions that will be used by the architectural designer to create the outlines of a project based on these concepts that will result in the perfect representation of what the final product should be before bringing it into life. It takes in consideration several factors such as aesthetics, geometry, shape, dimension or positioning of different spaces, etc., always thinking about the basic rules of construction, as well. The Architectural Design process is divided into 5 different phases: Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding and Construction Administration and it can include specific requirements for different project types such as, for example, 3D renderings or a physical model.

2 – Product Design - This discipline of design is focused on creating problem solving products for specific users or markets. Attention to detail is very important here. A product designer is responsible for imagining and creating physical or digital products that will improve their target clientele’s quality of life, being essential for brands or companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

There are very important properties that can be used as guidance to the designer when initiating the creative process for a specific product, the fundamental one being its utility, which adds the most value to the product, followed by reliability, it should be built to work consistently, usability as the user shouldn’t find any barriers on using this product, pleasurability will make the user have an emotional response to the product, aesthetic being a relevant part of this process and desirability, by looking at our specific target public will feel like they need or want this product. A product designer should also be constantly researching and up to date on tendencies, user needs, new products on the market, being a discipline that takes a constant analysis, innovation and combines art, science and technology.

3 – Fashion Design – This is a very important industry for design. A fashion designer has the ability to create trends that can implement themselves all over the globe, last for years or even come back in 50 years from now. A fashion designer creates clothing, shoes or accessories and must be always up to date with fashion trends, materials, environmental factors, or colours and have knowledge about different styles in different cultures using all this to create new products constantly.

The four basic elements of fashion design are shape, line, colour, and texture. It’s an industry that requires constant creativity and innovation since the social and cultural trends are always changing and it’s mostly required to have a college degree to be a Fashion Designer. Everyday, when we get dressed in the mornings to go out, either to work, do chores or practice physical exercise we choose a specific type of clothing for each different task which also helps building confidence thanks to a fashion designer who researched, imagined, and created that piece thinking of us.

4 – Web Design – The aim of Web Designing is to create functional, easy to navigate and visually attractive websites. For this a web designer must have in consideration their client’s brand as well as their target audience. This discipline also demands the knowledge to work with several different tools and coding skills. A web designer must also make sure the website works seamlessly through different devices and are accessible to users with different types of abilities or disabilities. The website is a very important part of a business growth nowadays and the smallest dysfunctionalities can really send the user away.

It’s important to identify the goal of the webpage and potentiate accessibility to the user through the organization and displaying of content across several pages with integration of interactive elements. The brand’s identity will be shown across the colour schemes, fonts and layout used as well as the organization of the different parts of the page and the main goal is to attract visitors and increase sales.

5 – Game Design – This type of designing develops the layout, code, storyline, environment, characters and sounds of video games. This can include augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D audio or the creation of a cinematic experience for gamers. Web designers are required to have a lot of different skills to be able to create complex games with an amazing experience for the users, such as storytelling, creating visual art or programming and they also need to have knowledge to use several different digital tools and software’s to ensure that players and viewers have the best experience possible and continue to play while attracting more people into consuming this content.

To design a playable product a game designer should have in consideration the following features: game mechanics, core game concept, character design, narrative and plot and level design. The players and viewers must be “stuck” to this experience from beginning to end, almost as if they are watching a movie. They also need to be constantly challenged and for this the level design is a very important part of a game. Gamers should have fun, enjoy, revisit often and lose themselves in the game.

6 – Graphic Design – This is the discipline of design that creates visual concepts to communicate ideas to inspire, inform and/or captivate consumers. A graphic designer’s job is to compose and arrange the visual elements of a project such as designing the layout of a magazine, creating a poster or flyer, designing the packaging of a specific product, or developing design for advertisements, brochures, among others.

This type of design communicates certain ideas or messages in a visual way and helps the producer or brand’s to connect with their target audience. Can be used by companies to promote and sell products, develop an identity through branding, or show specific information to users through graphics or visuals. Through the use of typography, colours, shapes and imagens graphic design will bring a concept, idea or message to life that are relevant to a brand’s marketing, advertising and production and shall catch the audience’s attention to attract them to buy a certain product or use a specific service. It takes a good combination of technical and artistic skills, besides a great marketing knowledge, to make a good graphic designer.

7 – Animation Design – As the name already implies, animation designing is the process of special effects and art for different forms of media such as video games or movies.

Animation designers have a range of different specialties they can choose to focus on, for example, creating animated TV shows or games, creation of background scenes and special effects or computer-generated images, etc. They must also have the knowledge to use several different software’s needed to develop these and a large level of creativity to bring amazing ideas to life. It’s a very technical form of design that demands great skills in coding, also. They must create storyboards, work on simulating the behaviour of animated characters, draw images to be scanned into several programs, be a part in the design of media campaigns or creating 2D and/or 3D images. To be a good animation designer it takes a lot of training to learn the proper skills, as well as attention to detail, organization or communication.

8 – Motion Graphics Design – This field can be easily confused with animation design, although they are very different. A motion graphics designer shall bring movement to static elements such as images or text. This is encountered, for example, on animated presentations, product demonstrations, movie titles and credits, text callouts, infographics, video transitions or moving backgrounds. Motion graphics focus on giving movement to graphic design elements. Used to great a bigger visual impact on a specific information you might want to provide to the user like a specific statistical fact, for example, but not properly telling a whole story as the animated designer should. It's also normally easier to produce and less complex, even though both have software in common needed for its creation.

9 – Industrial Design – An industrial designer’s aim is to develop any kind of physical product imaginable, normally for big manufacturers that are often used by millions of people around the world everyday, products that will be massively produced. Industrial design must drive innovation, build business success and lead to a better quality of life. It’s a process based on factors such as materials, production process, business strategy and combines creativity with technical and scientific thought to generate problem solving products. It usually requires a team of designers, engineers and business experts among others to develop the perfect product for the consumer. It’s a connection between product, user and environment. Industrial designers not only need mechanical knowledge, but also critical analysis and marketing skills, besides market and target audience knowledge. Industrial designers are usually required to have a college degree to be able to work.

10 – Interaction Design (IxD) – Interaction designs study how words, visual elements, objects, motion, sound or space can improve the target audience’s interactions with a product, system or service. It takes 5 dimensions into consideration: words, images, space, time, and behaviour. It’s a goal-driven design and an interaction designer should be able to know how to bring the user’s insight into their design, therefore, they will be able to conduct a proper user-centred research creating solutions that will raise the engagement of a client with a product, service or system.

Interaction design requires thinking through sketching, prototyping to be able to shape a product or service to meet the user’s exact needs. It’s a field that involves an intersection between behavioural psychology and technology and its process involves 5 stages: discovering what users need/want, analysing it, designing a potential solution, prototyping it and implementing and deploying it.

11 – User Experience Design (UXD or UED) – The main goal of this field is to design a system that offers a great experience to its target audience. The UX designer’s aim is to create products or services that are usable, enjoyable and, very important, accessible to all users. It takes demanding skills and knowledge such as visual design and knowledge of software’s, agility, architecture of information, user research and usability testing, prioritization and time management, among others.

The main difference between UX Design and Interaction Design is that UX designers shape an entire experience of a user while interacting with a product or service while the other is about assuring that in the moment of the user’s interaction with a product or service they will have a delightful experience. These are two very important fields in the branding and growth of businesses and companies, defining the user’s experiences and making sure to keep engagement.

In conclusion, these are only some examples of different forms and fields of design that we can find. But design is a very ambiguous term and overall is present everywhere we look on our day to day. Each product we use such as our Smartphones, computers or even the mug we use to drink our coffee every morning was, at some point, just a draw on a piece of paper that has later gone through several processes to better it until it was brought to a shelf and later to our hands. Just like the marketing and advertising campaigns of that exact same product were thought of and designed having in consideration details that will make us feel desire and want that product.

Design is problem-solving and user-centred and in any of its fields designers must have strong abilities of communication, to conduct researches, be great creatives and pay attention to detail. They will also need the knowledge of many different tools, software’s, areas and fields. They are multifunctional people that create solutions that better our general quality of life on a daily basis and need constant innovation and learning on a world that is evolving everyday.

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