Design Funnel In Operations Management | Step-By-Step Guide


A designer has to go through several steps before creating their final design. Fortunately, they can organize their design steps and bundle them up with help from a design funnel. Those in operations management find these funnels to be particularly helpful.

To create a design funnel, identify your goals and values. Next, identify moods and metaphors through association and generate ideas for the visual concept. Finally, transform the ideas into a visual language and create your design. These funnels help create a unique design that fits your goals.

In this post, we will learn how to create a design funnel in five simple steps. If you’re in operations management and want to guide the process or create a design funnel, this is the guide for you!

A Quick Overview of the Design Funnel in Operations Management

Operations management is an important part of modern business.

Those in this field must work effectively with their teams, build structure within the organization, and work to streamline the business efforts.

A design funnel can be helpful in this field because it focuses on clear communication (both written and visual).

Those in operations management can benefit from a design funnel themselves and/or use one to help their design team be more effective.

The design funnel is a roadmap that guides designers toward the best tools to use to produce a better design.

It is, therefore, a model that portrays the design process as the gradual elimination of design options.

There are countless options to choose from, so you need a guide to help you create the best possible final design.

Therefore, the funnel is broad at the beginning due to the wide range of options. It then narrows down as the research findings become clearer.

So, with the design funnel, you can transform ideas into amazing products and services for your clients as an interaction designer.

A Quick Overview of the Design Funnel in Operations Management

How to Create a Design Funnel: A step-by-step guide

To create a design funnel, you need to follow a series of steps that will help spark your creativity. Below are the design funnel creation steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Identify Your Goals and Values

This is the most challenging step of the design funnel since modern design tools have hindered designers’ creativity.

Because these tools are so widely used, they have led to the production of similar designs.

As such, it becomes difficult to stand out from the competition if you use the same tools.

To have any chance, you need to have a clear goal before you begin designing anything.

There are a few tricks that can help you out. First, start by identifying the key features to help you formulate goals.

Some factors to look into include the brand message, values, product keywords, target audience, how technical the design should be, etc.

Next, look at competitors who have developed similar designs. Look at the successful elements of their designs as well as those that didn’t work.

Keep these in mind but do not copy their design. Take inspiration, not content.

Once you’ve developed a general concept for the design, compile the ideas and formulate goals. Ensure the goals are realistic and achievable.

Step 2: Identify Associations That Reflect Moods and Metaphors

Now, it is time to associate all the assumptions and keywords collected from step one with moods and metaphors.

Since people are influenced by moods when making decisions, this is a crucial step.

Moreover, it brings the ideas to life and transforms them into something you can visualize. Begin by brainstorming metaphors into visual elements.

For instance, you can associate friendliness with curved edges and bright colors. Brainstorm as many associations as you can and write them down.

Next, narrow down the number of associations by selecting those that match the goals and values you set in step one.

Leave out the ones that do not match your goals.

Identify Associations

Step 3: Generate Ideas for the Visual Concept

After forming some associations, it is time to develop visual concepts. Looking at other industries is a great way to develop creative ideas.

For instance, you can get ideas from reading design books. Again, brainstorm as many ideas as possible and write them down.

Afterward, choose the ideas that best fit your associations from step two above. Also, ensure that the ideas support the goals and values identified in step one.

When your ideas are ready, check with the designers or the operations management team (depending on who needs to approve your work).

If they like your thoughts, you are good to proceed to the next step. If not, go back to step two and brainstorm again. Consider the discarded associations as well.

Step 4: Transform the Ideas Into a Visual Language

It is at this step that most designers begin their creative work. With a few goals in mind, they start creating their designs and variations.

If you make it this far, you are on your way to creating an amazingly unique design that meets your company’s needs.

Below are the main elements of the visual language that you should focus on.

Use of images: Here, identify the kind of images that support your visual concept.

These may be photographs, infographics, works of art, or illustrative images. In some cases, your concept may not need any images at all.

Color schemes: Different colors represent different moods and emotions. So, choose colors that match your visual concept and goals.

Choice of fonts: There are several typefaces to mix and match. The key is to choose fonts that are legible and user-friendly.

You can also get creative by choosing something fun and visually unique. 

Form: Here, you will need to create the general feel and look of a page by using page layouts. Play with the design in different dimensions and sizes.

Again, feel free to get creative.

Page layout: Decide how you will arrange the elements of your design on a page. Remember to include white space, so visitors are not overwhelmed.

After outlining all your visual elements, it is time to match the elements and see how they fit together.

Ensure the combinations are flexible so you can make changes as needed. Once you and your team are satisfied with the combinations, proceed to the final step.

Transform the Ideas Into a Visual Language

Step 5: Create Your Design

Having successfully crafted the necessary design elements, it is time to finally bring everything together to create a unique design.

Since you have handled most of the hard work, this step should be more simple and fun. Use your visual language and communicate the brand story.

Why Is the Design Funnel Important?

The design funnel helps to efficiently deliver a great design. The funnel provides insightful steps that enable employees to come up with original visuals.

Operations management is concerned with communicating clearly with employees and customers.

Thus, the design process starts by identifying a target and working towards it through direct steps instead of randomized attempts.

In turn, designers are able to follow a series of orderly steps that stimulate creativity and inspiration to create a masterful end result.

Subsequently, you’ll avoid copying other people’s designs. This is a mistake that leads to the loss of brand identity and messaging.

Every business has a voice and a message to communicate.

However, you risk losing the intended message when you create a design that’s too similar to another business.

As such, the design funnel helps you create designs that are suitable for your unique offerings.

Final Thoughts

Operations management is a difficult job, but a good design funnel can help you communicate with design teams and customers alike.

Everyone must work together in harmony for the business to succeed.

To create a design funnel, identify your goals and values, then associate them with moods and metaphors.

Afterward, generate visual concept ideas, transform them into a visual language, then create your design.

A design funnel can help you to produce unique designs that attract customers.

Working without the design funnel leads to the reproduction of the same visuals over and over. This leads to similar-looking designs that have nothing new to offer visitors.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to do BJJ and play with his pet bunny when not taking a plunge into the vast ocean of funnel design, email marketing, copywriting, conversions, and customer retention.

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