It’s called a process book. So make it one. Books have introductions, captions, notes, and most importantly, a narrative—a beginning, a middle and an end. A 60-page collage of outtakes with no text is not a process book. It’s an artist’s book and it tells me nothing.
Joshua Hardisty Designer at Latitude, teacher at MCAD
So if you’re going to produce process books here’s what I want to see:
- A story: It’s called a process book. So make it one. Books have introductions, captions, notes, and most importantly, a narrative—a beginning, a middle and an end. A 60-page collage of outtakes with no text is not a process book. It’s an artist’s book and it tells me nothing.
- Research: I want to know everything: what did you read, listen to and go look at? Who did you talk to? What do your notes look like? How did you decide what was most important? How did you know when you were done? And how do you organize your research—is it in folders, on a bulletin board or digital?
- Ideation: How did the research turn into actionable ideas? How many ideas did you come up? Are they lists or sketches? How did you decide what ideas to go forward with?
- Methodology: How do you actually design? Do you sketch out first or build up type and images digitally? Do you have a single idea or web of references? How do you decide what to kill? How are you getting feedback and what is the criteria for paying attention to it or ignoring it?
- Final appraisal: Why is the final result good? Not what you would change or do differently but why is it totally fucking great? I want to know that you recognize when something is good and can articulate why it’s good. Your process book is ultimately an argument for your end result. It says “After all this work there is no other place that I could have ended up.” I know you were raised to be humble but I need to know that you not only have confidence in your work but that you love it. If we end up working together you will never hear me say to a client “Well, we really learned a lot on this project and if we could do it all over again we would change this, this, and this.” No way. I’m going to say “We made this for you and here’s why it’s awesome.” If you can’t say that (or at least the safe but boring “Here’s why it works”) then you are not done with the project and you should not be showing it to me.