Design analysis, Design Poker

Yesterday, after flipping through several hundred photos of couture dresses, I selected fourteen that struck my eye. They weren’t designs I would want to use, necessarily, but each of them had one or more features that drew my attention.

So this morning I went through them and did a bit of design analysis. I had two aims. The first was educate my eye about design by doing an informal analysis: where are the focal points? Where is the eye drawn, what is the balance of the piece? How does the eye move through the piece? What is the overall mood and why?

The second aim was to figure out what had caught my eye in each piece, and capture those ideas on index cards so I could play Design Poker with them.

To give you an idea of what this was like, here are four of the design analysis index cards (click for a bigger version)

design analysis 2 design analysis 1

As I made each card, I captured the ideas I liked on index cards, scribbling a few words for each concept. When I was done, I had a set of sixteen cards, and was ready to play Design Poker. I “dealt” a hand of five cards, set a timer for fifteen minutes, and sketched five designs inspired by those five ideas before the timer went off.

They weren’t great designs, of course – the purpose of Design Poker is to brainstorm ideas. The timer is what keeps you moving – with an average of three minutes per design, the most you can do is scribble down ideas. This is intentional; otherwise it’s too easy to spend hours on a single design concept. In the early stages, I want lots of design ideas; later, I’ll condense and improve the best of the ideas into two or three working designs.

Here are some of the five designs I made:

design 1 design 2 design 3

As you can see, the designs are fairly crude and the ideas are not developed. That’s the idea for this round!

My next step is two more rounds of Design Poker with the remaining cards. After that, I’ll look at the designs, extract the better ideas from the more successful ones, and start consolidating things down to three or four working designs. I’ll develop those designs a little more fully, and then start draping and experimenting to “vet” those designs before settling on one to work with.

But first, I need to do some prep work. Some friends are coming over for a tie-dye party on Sunday, and I need to prepare! (As in, clean the work area, make sure I have all the requisite equipment, etc.) I also want to pre-tie some shirts, as some of my designs are fairly complex.

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  1. Posted May 10, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    They’re all pretty, but the first one is most definitely my favorite!

  2. Barbara
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Dianne, It looks the closest to something I would consider wearing if I ever had occasion to wear a dress.

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