eCuras, the leading Digital Agency, introduces “The Digital Design Doctrine,” a comprehensive handbook outlining all aspects of the Digital Design process, including extensive highlights on the workflow, process, design types, and color palette process, typography, terminology, and so much more. It is about time someone produced this guide, a full-suite, introductory training to the design process from concept through launch and beyond. Find every detail you’d ever need and want to know about the Digital Design Process.
As with any new industry sector you first approach, Digital Design possesses its own set of technical jargon, concepts, unwritten rules, and insider “code.” Like other digital domains, such a foreign language can easily deter newcomers from pursuing a potentially lucrative and enjoyable career path. Fear is a powerful emotion, even online, and such alienation creates a digital divide that could be preventing the world from many brilliant design minds. Like other new skills, you have to start somewhere, and most new challenges come with their share of intimidations and expectations.
eCuras has decided to rise above the secretive, competitive, and antisocial behavior typical of the digital community to dispel the myth that Digital Design principles are, well, designed for the few, not the many. Unlike its predecessor formats, Digital Design’s beauty is that new programs, techniques, products, systems, and software are being developed on the regular, making it a constantly evolving industry. That being said, the digital domain moves at the speed of light. You must stay on top of new developments or risk missing elementary functions required to serve new software. With the proper design foundation, spending time to understand and master some fundamentals, you will find yourself in a highly advantageous position with a new career path at your fingertips. If you are new to design, welcome to your first comprehensive look into Digital Design principles and opportunities from a digital agency that practices what they preach every day, from east to west and sunrise to sunset around the globe. If you’re already an industry veteran, perhaps this roundup will serve to shed some light on a new avenue or different perspective.
If you’re like most, you’re probably asking yourself why a digital agency such as eCuras would want to share our secret sauce with the world? Why would we want our peers and competitors to have an inside look into our thinking and processes? Valid questions, simple answers. This is where we differ from other firms. If you look at our client base, a base that is industry agnostic, morbidly different, and channel distinguishing and asked us how we can win this business, you’d likely be surprised at the answer. More than 50% of the time, the answer would be the same. We were handed a product, whether website, video, marketing materials, what have you, a product built so poorly, by such amateurs we had to wonder whether they had studied design or development at all. Whether used for new B2B business or customer acquisition, these important marketing pieces lacked the structural logic that was needed and had to be reconstructed almost from scratch. We have very much become Digital Fixers as well as Strategic Thinkers and Digital Designers.
You’d like to know why we support transparency, total disclosure of our business. The reason why is that we “Emulate chefs.”
In their book, Rework, serial entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson explain their reasons for telling their businesses’ details. When asked why they disclose so much publicly, their answer is always the same. They “emulate chefs.” They explain….” Everyone has heard of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Julia Child, Paula Deen, right? They’re all great chefs, but there are many great chefs out there. So why are these chefs more well-known than others? Because they share everything, they know. They put their recipes in cookbooks and show their techniques on cooking shows.”
Businesses falsely believe that being secretive and holding their strategies close to the vest somehow give them a competitive advantage or leadership position, when in fact, it probably does quite the opposite. Please share with the world your special sauce, contribute to this life we live in, make the world a better place. No one will put you out of business because you tell them the strategic advantage that works best with you. Think about how long it would take for someone to replicate all your hard work and put you out of business. What is the likelihood of that?
Similar to content development, graphic design puts a face to the words. It provides the meaning of a product or service by the looks and feel. It provides context. Digital Design is not merely colors, fonts, images, animation but rather a combination of several disciplines used to create a digital story. Like its content and engineering counterparts, Digital Design is part art and part science, as strange as that may sound. The following should guide you towards the backbone of visual stories and hopefully encourage you to enhance your engagement in this brilliant industry.
For better or worse, this has presented an opportunity for us as it has been a great revenue source. However, we did not get into this business to spend our time cleaning up messes. We got into this business to be challenged, to create cool and dynamic, and award-winning products. We prefer to work in a fair and healthy competitive environment where the best ideas win. We have yet to meet our match. As such, we created this piece to train the industry, an industry of current and future digital designers that will hopefully take us to the task, challenge us to be better, and do better. We are giving you the complete travel guide to Digital Design here. It’s a 360 degree, comprehensive look at the entire design lifecycle. We have nothing to hide. This is not rocket science and can be found in textbooks. So while this is our interpretation of some basic principles, we hope that you find value in our transparency.
In the simplest terms, the purpose of this resource guide is to educate and outline the processes and procedures we use daily, those that have made us successful. Feel free to read it in full or in sections as they apply to your workflow. We shall present these concepts in such a way that we hope you have all the necessary tools to make informed decisions, proper recommendations and enable you to check the quality of our work. We encourage you to question us, to use this resource to check our accuracy, don’t take us at face value. Prove to yourself what we are saying is true. We are opening the virtual hood and giving you a look underneath. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity.
To clarify the first piece of technical jargon for you, this resource will focus on “Digital Design.” Digital Design refers to creative elements produced for viewing on a screen, such as websites, mobile app interfaces, animation, banner ad campaigns, and the like. This is a technical document for technical designers, essentially those trained or looking to engage in the UI/UX (user interface/user experience) process and the actual graphic designers behind the scenes. You’ll find material regarding color and font selection, using grids, references for conducting a proper QA (quality assurance) of a digital product. Further, we will discuss different types of animation, submit designs for development, and provide a series of helpful resources to boost your design knowledge base.
Due to our industry’s ever-changing nature and the development and evolution of new technologies and techniques, we intend to update these articles periodically to ensure they remain current and maintain their value proposition. It is our commitment to you that these reflect current trends, relevancy, and attitudes within the industry and the constantly changing state of affairs within design principles themselves. This document is designed to provide the basic guidelines for the mechanics of a digital product, whether it’s a website, mobile app, animated gif, etc., and the various functions required to develop a working product. Essentially, this first piece will focus on the foundation of the digital product design process.
In the future, we’ll build on this foundation to include more advanced concepts and start to hone in on some of the more meticulous details. Fortunately, in design, more complex attributes build upon the basic principles, and those basic principles remain unchanged across the board regardless of the size of your project. Our goal is to highlight each stage of the design process, from conception and ideation to implementation. We will illustrate how we reference and draw inspiration from external sources to combine our style and expertise. We will demonstrate how all design projects are built from the same foundation and evolve into a product uniquely their own.
How and when you consume this content is entirely up to you. If you prefer a more traditional, comprehensive route, you may review each element and familiarize yourself with each concept separately and distinctly. Or, you may rather use your basic working knowledge and dive right into trial by fire. Perhaps you have a burning curiosity that you’re dying to try? That’s fine too. If we’ve done our job, this document should serve your needs no matter where you are at your development level. There is something for every level of expertise.
Take a moment to look through to see what appeals most to you. If you’re currently involved in a design capacity, we encourage you to review the upcoming stages listed here and follow along in your projects. You’ll have a better sense of the process and how we’ll actualize your vision into a functioning website. Now, without further ado, we present the nuts and bolts of Digital Design. Our next order of business: terminology. If you don’t understand the terms, you’ll never understand the process.