Most ideas fail to make it to the final product mainly because people give up, before attempting to actualize it for pitiful hopeless cases, after a number of futile tries, giving in to the frustrations of failing to achieve the desired or expected results despite making various changes, trying different approaches to a point you feel you have exhausted your ideas and there is that sad scenario whereby you keep repeating the same mistake, cock sure you are doing it correctly yet you can’t figure out what’s wrong. You toss the blame around, Pin it on one thing and stand convinced it was the sole reason things never worked out. ‘ I had it all figured out were it not for that phony who sold me the wrong/sub standard/expired …………..(feel free to fill in the blank with anything you like).
Rather than wasting precious time working on the same thing over and over only to end up with unsatisfactory results, you can put it to better use and hone your design skills while at it, and save yourself from mental torture, frustration, and wastage. This can be achieved by simply following a few guiding steps I found handy during my design processes.
A successful design doesn’t entirely lie in a beautiful sketch or impressive presentation, but a figured out concept with a clear follow through from the idea, process to the final product.
The Most Viable Approach, or MVA, so to say, is one I preferably refer to by the latter abbreviation, but translating to; Mental-Visual-Actual.
Mentally comb through the idea, carefully analyzing its viability, aesthetic value or appeal, its practical use…in other words, ask yourself; will my idea result in a product that serves its intended purpose, has the beholder in awe at the same time achievable using whatever is at hand?. In your mind, go through the process you will follow during production. What will be your answers to; Do I possess the required skills? How available or accessible are the required materials? Do I have the needed tools? How well have I familiarized myself with the applicable or suitable method? Can I afford the needed time? Where need be, can I improvise?. In your mind, the final piece ought to be a vivid image. Fully functional in the desired colors, sizes and form.
Make your idea visible. At this point, you have mentally developed your piece from idea to the final product, but to the outside world, it’s just an idea, a thought yet to be expressed. Words deliver but as the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Make your idea visible. This can be achieved through sketching, the cradle of artistic expression, or computer aided design. The resulting projection on paper or computer screen will be the final piece of the mental stage in full color and probably to scale. Now you can see the product of your mind with your own eyes, literary. Your idea is open to critic, by you or others. Imagination meets reality, at least partially. Analyze what you see, take it through the ‘M’ stage again. This time around you are better placed to quantify the required materials and blend aesthetic value, functionality and production practicality. For a refined analysis, one can take the inside out/top to bottom/end to beginning approach. This is where you take the final product, pull it apart to each individual component. It gives a better understanding of how each part fits, typical of the exploded diagrams common in assembly manuals.
Make the actual product. At this point, you have a fool proof strategy in place, having considered all apparent factors, I.e inventory of required and available materials as well as tools, production process, and available skill set, must haves and what can be replaced or improvised, last but not least, Required versus available time. You are set to go. You will be working on your first yet 1000th bulb, or the 999th if I am to scale down on my optimism. Reason being; You have already done the 998 in your mind and visible projections. As a result, adjustments have been made and potential variations noted, possible mistakes and errors foreseen and evaded, requirements identified and gathered, time allocated accordingly, precision and measurements fine tuned.