In The Design Method Eric Karjaluoto meticulously and generously details the journey he and his team at smashLAB follow through the creative quagmire. From a project’s early research stages; through strategies and cunning plans; past top-level conceptualisation and onwards, far beyond the edges of iterating, prototyping and more iterating; Karjaluoto’s design methods, rightly, leave little to fortuitous happenstance or creative genius.
It's tough out there. When you’re being paid to deliver great creative, on demand, everyday, you need a system. You need a design method; to manage the process, your client, your employer, your stress levels and your sanity. Methodology guides you through the blocks, around the obstacles and under the aquaducts of distraction.
I’ve introduced methods and systems into studios. Some have even worked. Some have been welcomed, some rejected. Others have been fought and a few have been embraced. I believe in processes because I’m not a creative genius; I’ve experienced the pressure and stress of demand. Due diligence has helped me to deliver sound creative – on time and to budget. What’s that thing Einstein said? About spending most of his time thinking about the problem and only a tiny bit of time thinking about the solution. The Design Method is all about that sort of thing. It's about following sensible procedures to take care of the business of design.
The Design Method describes more processes than you may ever be likely to eat. In doing that it might just help you find the ones that will work for you. It touches on things you’ll know, that’s what it did for me – Karjaluoto describes much that I already do, more that I wish I did do and a lot that I know I should do. On top of that it did one really great and helpful thing: it reaffirmed my faith in systems.
The Design Method provides the designer with the opportunity to find order in the creative mess. Not to stifle or restrict but to enable and liberate. If you’re starting out it could prove especially helpful – although it's likely to require discipline and diligence if you are to benefit most from what it offers. If you’ve been at it for a while, it might help you fine tune how you practise your craft.