30 March 2015

How To Tackle a Design Brief

An open-ended brief is probably one of the hardest design briefs to tackle – but a great challenge all the same! For BIA’s 2015 brief: to create an innovative tapware design for the contemporary bathroom environment, there is lots of room to play. Whether you design your tap to be purely aesthetic, functional or sustainable – or all of the above – is entirely up to you.

Nevertheless, there are a few steps at the very start of your design briefing process that will help you define the challenge at hand and kick off your design research and development.

Most important is understanding the parameters of your design brief. First, consider what are the aims and objectives of the brief? Secondly ask, who is your client and what are their needs and wants?

Responding to a design brief also involves identifying the problem and defining the opportunity. Begin by research your competitors: investigate what other people and/or brands are doing in the market. This will give you some insight into the key players and help you identify the gaps – or niches of need – in the market.

In examining the gaps you begin to understand the opportunities available and the purpose of your design. That opportunity and purpose may be driven by consumer demand, the needs of the end-user, a particular trend, a unique innovation, a sustainability requirement, or even market competition.

BIA 2014 emerging design winner Queena Le’s modular vanity concept is a great example of a design that addresses the every changing needs of the end-user. Key to Queena’s design is the flexibility and interchangeability of surfaces to create new functionality.

BIA 2014 Student Winner Queena La design image 3

BIA 2013 finalist Deb Wallace’s bathroom concept, ‘Inspired by Aurora Australis’, is another great example of a design that simultaneously addresses sustainability and the end-user. With the development of phosphorescence in glass and ceramic glazing, the edges of Deb’s toilet, basin and bath can be illuminated. The phosphorescence eliminates the need for electrical power, recharging during sunlight hours, and gives off a soft glow by night to improve navigation and visibility for users.

BIA 2013 Finalist Professional Deb Wallace Inspired by Aurora Australis 02

BIA 2013 Finalist Professional Deb Wallace Inspired by Aurora Australis 04

Research and market knowledge is an important aspect of understanding a brief and defining the challenge at hand. Once this is tackled and you’ve arrived at your challenge, the real fun begins!

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