How does a growing firm collectively express its design vision? How can we empower our team to foster and individually express their own creativity within the framework of a cohesive vision? In answer to these questions, we created a working design tool to formulate design solutions to the problems posed in any aspect of our work. The culmination of our five-year-effort took the form of a book to be used as a tool, no different than sketch paper or a scale, to clarify the many loose threads that are woven together in the realization of our work.
We first brainstormed the words that define our 20+ years of design output in terms of atmosphere, aesthetic, and philosophy. We looked at the relationships between those words and established four overarching strands to which each thread might be tied. Each word was deliberately selected and given a definition within the broader context of its place within WDA’s Design Vision.
We then developed a distinctive icon, which represents the strands of an idea as intrinsic elements of a complete design solution. The four colors represent each thought, with the concentric layers providing substance in the articulation of WDA’s Design Vision.
- Ordering Principles: The arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern or method.
- Spatial Qualities: The attributes associated with, and the perception of, a volume or space.
- Design Sensitivity: The care with which a design connects to a specific context.
- Materiality: The quality or character of materials.
We’ve consciously integrated the tool into every stage of design, from client introductions to design development and iterations. It’s been rewarding to watch all members of our team, from junior to senior, use the book as a learning tool and in-turn, enhance and contribute to our collective design vision.
Interested in learning more, or have a project you’d like to collaborate on? We’re happy to share our process and show you how our Design Vision will help bring your project to life. We are also hosting an event for San Francisco Design Week on 6/17 from 11 AM – 12 PM. William Duff will do a deep dive and share excerpts and insight into our Design Vision guidebook. We hope to see you there!