Managing your design projects

Documenting the design process


Clearly written and structured documentation is crucial when you are planning the design process. Whether printed or electronic, this document will help to capture design ideas, decisions and solutions.

Document each stage of the design process

The content of your design documentation should include different information at each stage of the design process. For example:

  • Discover - document all the attributes or functions needed in the new product you are designing. You can then perfect your ideas in your concept brief.
  • Define - list what needs to be done to make your product or service function as required. The concept brief is usually signed off at this stage, and approval given to either begin on the design of the product or service itself or to continue developing the design.
  • Develop - give details of the potential solutions which are being investigated. You may need to do competitor analysis at this stage.
  • Deliver - your business needs feedback on the new product or service as part of final testing. Document the reactions of customers, point-of-sale staff, service and maintenance teams. Always record any safety analysis undertaken for the product or service and use all this feedback to develop the designs further. Set deadlines for production, making sure to co-ordinate with sales outlets and promotional activities.

You may find it useful to plan what documentation you will use and include it in the design brief that you write for your designers at the start of the project. Find out more about briefing a designer.

You may also want to integrate design with other business processes.

Advantages of documenting the design process

Documenting the design process and recording feedback helps your business to monitor the contribution that design is making to its success. It can also help you prove that you own the intellectual property rights of any designs should you discover that someone is infringing your rights.