In unit one of the book Graphic Design School, the authors focus on research and concepts, which together, are the underlying frameworks for executing good design. Within research and concepts, there are seven sections that bring to life what these two terms mean. The seven sections consist of the 1.) basics of research; 2.) linear reasoning vs. lateral thinking; 3.) exploratory drawing; 4.) visualizing ideas; 5.) theories of image and text; 6.) audiences, markets, and concepts; and finally, 7.) scheduling, organizing, and finalizing. In 1.) basics of research, the authors stress the importance of making observations, recording what you see, and other methods of gathering information that one can later use. In 2.), linear reasoning is a form of thinking that implies strategic thought process, one in which step-by-step logic is employed. Lateral thinking is a form of research where the emphasis is on indirect, creative forms of inquiry and thinking. Both should be used for concept development.

In 3.) exploratory drawing, the authors discuss how sketching and drawing are essential in guiding the process of developing concepts and understanding the world around you. This is the same for visualizing ideas and making comps, thumbnails and rough drafts. The remaining two sections of this unit focus on how one must design for their audience and their market, as well as how to work with clients and schedule time out well. This is a big step in being a designer, organizing your time to most effectively get the job done.

A D D I T I O N A L  /  R E A D I N G

On the website 99u.com, I discovered an article entitled “How to Apply Lateral Thinking to your Creative Work”, written by Shane Snow. Like our textbook reading, this article emphasizes the significance of implementing lateral thinking to one’s design process and concept development. In this article, Snow relates lateral thinking to approaching a problem sideways – rather than answering it head-on. Snow insists that creative breakthroughs happen when people employ lateral thinking. The author mentions Edward de Bono, who coined the term “lateral thinking” in 1967. De Bono explains, “Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces.” Just as the Graphic Design School textbook states that later thinking is research that is indirect, this article states that, lateral thinking, in essence, occurs when “assumptions are broken” – that is, defying our natural inclination to think linearly. Our default setting, when being creative, is to be linear in all ways. Our textbook insists that both forms of thinking and research are useful, but when being creative sometimes this indirect form, lateral thinking, may be more beneficial. To wrap up the article, Snow provides five steps to train oneself to think more laterally. 1.) List the assumptions. 2.) Verbalize the convention. 3.) Question the question. 4.) Start backwards. 5.) Change perspective.


This artwork is an example of a poetic style – it is less clear what it is trying to convey; more artistic; and more open to interpretation.

This icon is an example of a universal message or dependable artwork – it is a symbol that transcends language and communicates the message instantly. Clearly it means there are stairs to go up.

This image is an example of thumbnail sketches – small, rapidly drawn, stamp-sized compositions: blocking out the general structure and content of a design, but not focusing heavily on the details.

This graphic demonstrates the difference between macro and micro design and concept planning – macro, focusing on the big picture and big ideas, compared to micro, which focuses on the details and final adjustments made to a design.