When we start working on a new project, the customer requirements form the guiding rails for us to begin the process of designing. As we start brainstorming and throwing out ideas, we begin to fill the empty spaces with uncertain experiments. We then start making tiny decision which we stitch together part by part in trying to complete the big picture.
Initially to get started with drawing an outline of the project, we naturally tend to ask ourselves the basic questions of why, what, where, how. As the project progresses, we come across unforeseen hurdles, feedback, opinions and try to work our way through it to achieve the big goal. However, in the process of doing so, there are very strong chances of digressing from the main purpose of the project. In trying to put the small pieces together, and focusing on how to make it happen, we sometimes tend to lose the purpose of why we are doing what we are doing. This is when the question “Why” always comes handy to validate our work.
A design can never be a solution if it doesn’t fulfill the underlying purpose of its existence. Asking the question “Why” each time we complete our little milestones, that we set for ourselves, can do wonders to the final solution.
In the book called “The Shape of Design”, Frank Chimero points out - “Our mistake was the same as that of the creative person who places too much focus on How to create her work, while ignoring Why she is creating it. Questions about How to do things improves craft and elevates form, but asking Why unearths a purpose and develops a point of view. We need to do more than hit the right note. The creative process, in essence, is an individual in dialogue with themselves and the work. Why is usually neglected, because How is more easily framed.”
The process of design is most successful when it is an iterative process rather than a linear one. Asking the question “Why” at every stage to validate your work can not only help in creating a strong argument for your work but also help in delivering a legitimate story. So, a reality check by asking the question “why” at every stage of the process can help in creating the solution that one set out to provide in the first place.