Design Challenges

Mar 26 / Elina
Throughout our studies, we often encounter challenges that make the learning process difficult and time-consuming. While some of these difficulties can be easily overcome, others require more time and personal investment to conquer. Unfortunately, it can be tempting to give up rather than push ourselves, especially when it comes to tasks like sketching or creating mockups. However, with effort and dedication, we can overcome these challenges and improve our skills.
When I studied product design, I also encountered several challenges that, in some way or another, held me back. For example, I often needed help with mockup creation. I understood how to create them. However, the final piece didn’t look good. Although it wasn’t my favourite part of the product design process, each time when making them, I tried to put in as much effort as possible. 

During this process, I found materials such as wooden sticks (usually used for meat during barbecue), out of which I enjoyed creating mockups. I have always struggled with making mockups out of cardboard. In this case, the core problem was the measurements and cutting the pieces evenly as the pieces were not even the mockup immediately failed. Although I didn’t like this part of product design, I understood its importance and how it impacted my design projects. With the help of mockups, I could improve, test and present my designed projects to others.

Of course, you could escape the suffering and just model your product in 3D modelling software. However, another important aspect of real-life mockups is that they help you develop a sense of space and dimension and show you how possible it is to manufacture it. These skills and understandings are important if you want to become a good designer who understands what it is creating.
If some of you have a similar feeling towards creating mockups, I still encourage you not to turn away from this part of product design. Instead, try to understand which part of this process is the most challenging and if there is a way how you can change or improve it. For example, if you have difficulties working with certain kinds of material, try looking for another one. Try to look for solutions and shortcuts that make this process efficient and insightful. 

Another part of the design process that demands enough time and dedication is sketching, a fundamental step that remains relevant even in our digital age. While technology has provided us with various digital tools, sketching still holds immense value for designers. Acquiring sketching skills is essential as it allows designers to understand, visualise, and present their ideas tangibly and intuitively. Words alone can sometimes be insufficient, leading to confusion and complexity. However, a quick and understandable sketch can effortlessly convey a wealth of information.
Regular sketching exercises can elevate one's visualisation skills to a whole new level, enabling designers to capture their ideas more easily and precisely. Furthermore, consistent sketching fosters idea development. As you repeatedly sketch your ideas, they naturally evolve and transform. During this iterative process, you may discover various aspects and nuances of your design piece, influencing its visual aesthetics and overall composition. These newfound insights can then be transformed into key points you can experiment with while creating a mockup, allowing you to refine and test your design concepts effectively. Therefore, sketching not only enhances your ability to visualise ideas and serves as a catalyst for idea generation and refinement throughout the design journey.

The design process is like research, and sketching and creating mockups are essential components that can yield significant results. To become a successful designer, you must prepare for multiple rounds of sketching and mockup-building, which are integral to refining and testing your design concepts effectively.
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