Any design method is composed of several design tools. It is important to understand that there are already thousands of design methods and more are being developed daily. It is the way you combine design tools that will provide you with an appropriate method to use in solving your problem.
The design fields thrive on problems. In fact, if there were no problems, we would need no designers. But then, this state of affairs would imply that there was nothing to improve, correct, or change, and we all know that this is not the case. Design takes many forms and pervades many professions, and it is from some of these professions, particularly science and engineering, that designers have adopted much of their systematic methodology.
The organization of a problem from its discovery through its solution can spell the difference between success and failure. To brainstorm without recording your thoughts can be a waste of time. You may forget some valuable ideas. Challenges that you undertake are complex, no matter how simple they at first may appear to be. It is worthwhile to investigate all aspects of them so that you know their scope and your actual goals.
Designing can be a real chore for some people, possibly because they don’t know the proper methodology to follow for a design process. Anything new usually presents problems. At first, designing methodically appears to be a tedious and complicated task, and it is. But there are some hidden benefits to adopting a problem-solving method. Perhaps the most important benefit is that it forces you to identify the real problem. Next, it compels you to record your findings in an organized fashion so that you won’t be tempted, literally to jump to conclusions. Last, it provides an efficient mechanism for you to thoroughly think through your problem before you begin to produce a physical setting. In short a design method is a vehicle you use to get to a project from its beginning to its end destination.
A design method can consist of any number or types of design tools. A design tool is any device through which you obtain, organize or evaluate information. A series of different design tools produces a design method. Regardless of the specific design method you select, it generally includes the following steps: