Play, Create, and Evaluate: Blake Greene's Process

March 2016 - User Experience Design - Problem Solving - Communication Design

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Greene Face™ A guide to how I work through any design challenge

Every time I approach a project I break it down into 3 manageable, bite-sized phases. These 3 phases are Play (I notice what's inspiring me now, ask my fellow peers what they're excited about, explore all opportunities, etc.), Create (build some working models, generate ideas, print some samples, etc.), and Evaluate (I document what's working, test the idea in a real-world setting, get user feedback, etc.).

  • Explore my current interests.
  • Express the design challenge in different mediums (sketches, CAD, etc.).
  • Explore opportunities.
  • Ask peers for ideas.
  • Depending on the project, build working models as applicable.
  • Generate workable ideas and solutions.
  • Build many prototypes before building the final.
  • Work as a team or individually.
  • Evaluate performance of the final model.
  • Test the model in the real world.
  • Gain user feedback.
  • Participate in RISD critiques with peers, faculty, and guests.

Within each of these steps I'm making prototypes, analyzing findings, and reassessing what's working and what's not working. This process creates a roadmap to success that builds meaningful, well crafted results while allowing me to learn and grow as a designer. My projects have had hard deadlines that have lead me to discover a fast paced, rapid prototyping method of making. I document my progress daily through photographs, sketches, and notes so that I can share my findings with my peers, my teachers, and the rest of the world.

1. Play

Play means reading. Play means roughing out ideas in my sketchbook. Play means taking photos, people watching, asking my friends what they're reading, walking around other RISD departments, or sitting in on a Brown University lecture. And no matter which phase of the process, I start with action, never paralysis. Action leads to the first couple of ideas, then to analysis, then to realignment. Below are some examples of how I start with play.

2. Create

I am a multi-tool when it comes to making. My RISD ID education has not only shown me how to navigate the design process through sketching and brainstorming, but also through the appropriate application of many different tools. I've found that in the design world knowing how to use a tool does not define success; what defines success is knowing which tool is the right tool for the job. I can operate a table saw, create books with InDesign, lay fiberglass, and speak confidently in front of a large crowd. I know when to appropriately reference Christine Frederick instead of Ettore Sottsass. I can write. But I can also recognize when I cannot do something as efficiently as a peer, so I often work in a team setting where we can all utilize our individual strengths.

3. Evaluate

A successful project requires vision and tact. With careful storytelling in mind, I craft cohesive presentations for my peers to follow so that they can better understand the deliverable they see before them. My deliverables are always greater than any one single object, app, person, or space because I seek to craft an experience. I seek the counsel of my peers and take their critiques seriously so that I may develop with each new project.

If you have any more questions about my process or would like to learn more about my experience working in a team or individually, please send me an email at Thank you!

Blake Greene, 2016