Design Research

Design research is about understanding real people in the context of their everyday lives and then using that knowledge to inspire imagination and inform intuition. Explore the many ways in which research can be conducted for creative disciplines and how to find the right research method for your project.

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What Makes a Good Research Topic?

It goes without saying that your research project should be based on a subject that really interests you and that you are capable of undertaking. This research can be used to introduce yourself to potential employers and will demonstrate up-to-date knowledge and findings that are pertinent to your expertise. With that in mind, deciding on a research topic can seem like a stressful decision, but it doesn’t have to be. Discover the best ways to ensure that your research topic is the right choice for you with a helpful checklist.

Shot of a man designing a skateboard on his tablet in the workshop

Design Literacy: Research Through Making, Iterative Approaches to Graphic Design, Problem Finding, and Problem Solving

Understanding the relationships between shape, colour, organization, and composition, alongside the cultural signposts embedded in graphic communication, is at the heart of effective design. Explore the role of design literacy in visual research through iterative making, problem finding, and problem solving.

Close-up of artist Joan Miro's sketchbook at the Fundacio Miro Mallorca museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1987

Compiling Your Research

Learn how a visual journal, workbook or sketchbook can act as a physical manifestation of your thought processes. It can be a space to play, a sounding board for developing different ideas and a place to track developments.

Graphic design on a tablet

Using Your Findings

There are many ways that research results can be looked at and understood, so it is crucial to take time to reflect on the information you have gathered, analyze your findings and then use the process of synthesis to narrow your focus and draw conclusions. Learn how data can be categorized, synthesized, reflected upon and analyzed, and how this can develop and inform your design practice.

Futuristic cyborg walking in desert with flying UFOs

Character Design

When designing a game, you may already have an idea of the personality traits of the character or characters you want to create. But how do you go about developing them into someone really unique? A good place to start is thoroughly researching the world the character inhabits and understand the context in which your characters’ lives play out. Discover the principles of character design, how to build a character profile and make your character real.

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In a rapidly changing landscape with new digital services being created and adapted every minute, research is vital to understanding the needs of users and to help them achieve their goals. Explore the key challenges faced when undertaking this research through two unique case studies and find out how to develop robust discussion frameworks that enable a two-person research team to conduct rich research discussions.

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