The concept is the part of the design process where you develop the idea of what you are to accomplish. The parts of the concept are:

  Idea what you want to do -- your goal
  Research gathering the information needed to accomplish the idea
  Editing making sense of the research



The expanded components of concept for designing two-dimensional artwork are:

An idea is always the starting point. The idea of this project is to design a symbol that represents what the sun or the moon means to you. Because there are an infinite number of possibilities for a sun and moon symbol, you need to restate the problem (narrow the field) in order to solve the problem. One of the most important skills of a successful problem solver is the ability to state the problem so that it can be solved. To do that you must know more about the subject and the possibilities for it's representation.

There are many reasons to do research: look for subject matter, find images to use or adapt, learn about materials and/or techniques and discover different design concepts or styles to use.

Different projects require different kinds and amounts of research. Do not worry yet about how you will manufacture your symbol. Concentrate on what it is you want to communicate about the sun or moon. This is often done quicker verbally than visibly. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Some words are worth a thousand pictures.

Start by making a list of words that describe the sun or moon to you both physically and emotionally. Terms like hot, bright and round come easily to mind for the sun. What do you think of for the moon? The more words you list, the deeper you need to go into yourself. The best ideas are not always the most obvious. Keep your search centered on the sun, not on the beach or a sunny day.

More research may be required for more complex problems. The library is the logical place to start to search for information. The Internet is another once you learn how to use it for research.


All ideas are not equal.
You have done enough research when you have more than enough information. All of the information is not going to be equally useful. You must edit what you have learned during your research. Your list will contain some terms that are more important than others. Go through the list and rate the words as most important, useful, useless, etc.. Establishing a hierarchy will help you make a more meaningful symbol. The edited list of words can be in the Design Book or with your class notes.

It may be necessary to do more research later while planning and/or making the product When ever you need more information you must go back and do more research. It is also possible that your original set of priorities might change while working on the project.

Remember that the concept is flexible. If during the making of the image you get a better idea you can always change your mind. As long as you end up with a composition (content) that satisfies your concept you are OK.

The next part of the process is where the real work begins and the concept is given form. Go to Part B: Form.


© 2006 James T. Saw
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