Creative Problem Solving in Design


Perhaps one essential thing that separates good design from a mere pretty picture is functionality. Design is meant to be a functional mechanism presented in the most visually appealing manner. A pretty table? Okay, I might take the one I like the most from the furniture store. A pretty table that magically turns into separate chairs that saves precious apartment space? Okay, that is something I need to have in my life.

Apart from mere craft and concept, design would involve creative problem solving. Graphic design, for one, aims to solve the problem of communication. How would we best convey our message? How would we make that message memorable? How would we present our message in a way that our audience can access several fragments of information in the most efficient way possible? Graphic design is more than intelligent use of color, shape, and texture. Graphic design also aims to organize and present information and the challenge it poses is to fill the gap in communication. This communication, in turn, is to be done visually. Another challenge is innovation. A good idea stands out. More importantly, a good idea has the capacity to inspire more good ideas.


Texts and Graphic Cohesion

Of course we cannot entirely discount the fact that graphic design generally, and should inherently contain verbal messages. Words or texts carefully culled to best capture what a product, service, and concrete or abstract idea is about, are equally important elements in any given design. Still, this goes without saying that the incorporated textual messages in a design need to seamlessly cohere with its graphic content, and the design’s theme or motif in general. In this case, creative problem solving in design is taken on an entirely different, and more challenging realm, for, after all, making sure that concrete words and subliminal design representations complement or align with each other, is not exactly an easy feat.

Cultivating Creativity through Practice and Instinct

More than simple problem-solving, as the name implies, creative problem solving’s key element is creativity. A problem (or a challenge, if you will) can be solved through multiple ways. Unlike our grade school math problems that perhaps involved two trains going the opposite directions, creative problem solving does not yield exact answers. Instead it aims to finally arrive at a solution, one among many, that would best suit the corresponding challenge and its context. This process builds upon creativity techniques and problem solving methods in order to arrive at an answer, marrying right and left brain concepts of imagination and logic, inspiration and analysis.


Practicing on problem solving and creative processes will be of more benefit as opposed to merely focusing on the end solution. This would ensure that as a designer, you have a firm grasp of the processes necessary to produce sound work. Being aware of proper techniques minimizes creative blocks, hasty knocked-off designs, and functional loopholes.

In building solutions or improving the current situation, creativity is needed because it allows us to see beyond the present circumstances. It opens up a whole new universe of possibilities and in design, we have the opportunity to create it.

Guest author Laura B. works for Card Printing US, an online division of Tele-pak Inc. which specializes in rush and overnight plastic card printing orders. Read her latest article on the The Power of Color: Three Interesting Colors to Think About at Rush Tips.


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