Digital Doughnut Thinking: Improving digital design

Digital Doughnut Thinking: Improving digital design

I wish I’d taken a photo of it. It looked so beautiful. It grabbed me.

A freshly made tasty, sweet indulgent doughnut served with freshly ground and filtered coffee. Just what was needed. The perfect reward for persevering the relentless wander in and out of every single discount retail outlet in the shopping centre. There had been hundreds I'm sure. But the beautiful poster, proudly placed outside Thornton’s café grabbed my attention. The early bird offer would be mine. There was no doubt in my mind that Thornton’s would have at least one purchase that followed.

I stood waiting for my good lady who was in, yep you’ve guessed it; a shop. My mind plotted the sales pitch I would give her to encourage her too to pause the shopping activity and join in doughnut and coffee indulgence.

As I say, I wish I had taken a photo of that poster. A design that had clearly served its purpose well. The colours, the clarity of the photo, the design, the layout, the simple text, the key message. This analysis of design is something that often tends to happen in my mind as an automatic reaction to things I see out and about. It's inbuilt and sometimes I just can’t stop that happening. Do I need some sort of therapy? Or is it more the case it's what happens in my mind as an attribute of me? Perhaps it's my duty to do so.

It got me thinking about a video I once saw about creative thinking and how that links into my work as a digital learning specialist. It isn't really until now that I've made that link. As part of the Content and Design team at DPG we’re here creating community content, articles, learning material, resources, online learning and more. We bring to life content, qualifications, stories and conversations. We use online learning, live learning, animations, videos, images and design. We need a high degree of design, which continually develops and grows. 

So for me, for us and for anyone else involved in developing any of this stuff, it is our duty to look at design and figure out how we can bring what we see (hear and touch too) into the work we do. I’m a big believer, when it comes to developing higher standards in digital design to look at the best, take your head off, forget about barriers and just use your senses to look and learn. From the best.

  • If you’re creating a poster, graphics, images, models: look at what the big marketing people are doing for the big brands? What beautiful design can you bring into what you do?
  • Making a video? Take a look at what the television and film experts are doing. What can we learn from them? What are the techniques we can use with the simple kit we have and the lower budgets available?
  • What about a recorded interview? How would that sound on the radio? The content, the clarity, the production?

That's part of the digital design process. Imagining just for a little while, that you had the skills, budgets, equipment and expertise the best of the best had. In reality we haven't, but what if we did? Take your head off, spend some time in that limitless world. As daft as it is, as unrealistic as it might be, just imagine taking the most radical approach to your digital design? Step outside, wander around daftness. Look far and wide. Look at the insane, the implausible, Consider for one moment those undeliverable ideas.

Because lying there in that daftness, out of the ordinary, far away from where we would usually look, are clues and ideas that can be used in digital design. Whilst we might not be able to reach those highest production values, we can certainly take some of what we learn through this creative thinking process and turn the dial up one or two notches.

Take time for this digital doughnut thinking. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

And if you need some help more generally with your doughnut thinking, check the video below from Will Woodward

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