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2 Tutorials that teach Refinement
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Author: mario fierro-hernandez

Differentiate between the methods of refinement in the visual design process.

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on refinement. So we'll learn about refinement and the creative process, and just check out why it's important. As always, feel free to pause, fast-forward, and rewind at your own pace. And when you're ready to go, let's begin.

Let's begin today's lesson by introducing what refinement is. Refinement is a process of simplifying the project to its necessary attributes. So this step breaks down what a designer has developed during the visualization step, and further refines these developments to the expected goals of the project. So it's pretty straightforward. You would refine and design a project by making adjustments-- which is, of course, the process of fixing any mistakes.

I've put together a quick and very rough example here-- so I apologize for that-- of how Samsung was advertising their S3 line of phones. The ad is similar with some minor differences, but in any case, the ad reads-- "It doesn't take a genius." And you can see the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 there.

So, a few things to note here. It's confusing, at least for me. There's no clear message. I guess it must take a genius, because I have no idea what they're talking about. It doesn't take a genius to-- what? To figure out the ad? Who is this ad for? What is it advertising, exactly? Beyond the catch phrase, the way the phones are positioned makes me think that it's some sort of battle or face-off.

And that's really all I've concluded from this ad. If we made an adjustment or two, though-- while attempting to keep the same message-- you can see that it's clearer. Now, I would have changed a few other things in addition to the tagline, but that aside, the iPhone 5 is recognizable enough that you don't need much of it there to know what it is.

So, the product in competition-- the S3-- is now more visible and apparent. And it has the spotlight. The position of the S3 in relation to the iPhone 5 makes the message clearer. So now, it doesn't take a genius to realize which phone is better or newer or bigger. Now, despite the confusing phrase-- "It doesn't take a genius"-- once again, it still provides your mind with a gap to fill. So these adjustments and refinement of this design is crucial to how the viewer is going to perceive that message and phrase.

Now, whether a designer is working with a client or someone from his team, collaboration is an expected part of the refinement process. So, say you're a designer and you're working with a company. Naturally, you're going to be collaborating with a client. The client will give you rough examples of what they want, or a very clear direction with specific ideas to be conveyed. Of course, it's your job to make this happen.

So, if you begin work on an ad-- again, comparing the S3 to the iPhone 5-- you'll be providing a client with a prototype, which is a product that is ready for observation, but not ready for distribution. So now, because you work for a design firm, you're not the only one working on the ad. Someone else is also working on it, and let's just say he's in charge of the text or the phrase that's going to accompany your design layout.

So you will have to collaborate with your team members well. You work on a prototype design, and then your teammate in charge of the text phrase sends you back that phrase that he thought of. And it's just way too long, and it doesn't fit with your initial design. So you two collaborate on something that might work better. And then, you create another prototype.

Now, this prototype gets sent out to the client, and he just doesn't understand what giraffes have to do it. He also suggests maybe you do something about the phone's proximity. So you get back to work and the phrase guy gets back to work, and you do a quick clean and fix it up. Send it back to the client, who you're still collaborating with-- and although the client is not a designer, he still feels like something's missing and would like it to be more obvious that the S3 just overshadows the competitor.

So you go back to work, and you think up another prototype. Again, the client likes it, blah blah blah, and you continue with this process-- collaborating with your team members and the client-- until it evolves into something that the client is happy to showcase as a final design.

Well, everyone, that concludes today's lesson. Let's recap with our key terms. So, once again-- refinement, collaboration, adjustment, and prototype. I hope you have enjoyed this quick lesson on refinement. My name is Mario, and I will see you next lesson.

Terms to Know

The process of fixing any mistakes.


The process of having many participants working together on a project.


A product that is ready for observation, but not ready for distribution.


The process of simplifying the project to its necessary attributes.