Discover our new design process: Directioning
As designers, we can’t help but tinker. Especially when it comes to our own business, we’re always looking for ways to strengthen our offerings, from major steps like a total rebrand in 2020 to smaller but important steps like team development workshops.
Continually assessing ourselves and our process, we decided it was time to officially add a 5th ‘D’ to our process of Dig, Define, Design and Develop. But while this new ‘D’ will now become an official addition, it is actually something we’ve been providing for years, just without the branding it. Now with more brands coming to us for this kind of key insight and actionable research, we decided it was time to make it official.
So here, we want to introduce you to our newest process and service: Directioning.
Not every project starts with directioning, but every project that does is set up for success. Designed for clients just starting out, or clients who want to do something new, in this phase we use workshops, market and brand research and design sprints to determine what kind of product a brand should make or what kind of brand they should be.
Leveraging industry know-how and conscious planning, we dig, define, design and develop your product as an extension of your team.
Dig: In this phase, we dig up, rather than simply assume, what the problem is. This involves understanding your business, brand, users and technology. But, we also take time to speak to people who are directly affected by the problem at hand and experts who have key insight.
Define: With the insight from the digging phase in hand, we will help you define the challenge. By narrowing down our insights to establish the project’s main objectives, we will steer you past ‘interesting’ ideas and take you on the twists and turns that lead you to fresh and exciting opportunities.
Design: We’re blurring the lines between you and our team. Through consistent collaboration and in-studio workshops with designers, users, partners and you, we’ll have open discussions and exchange ideas that spark innovative solutions. To bring us closer to the final product, our team also builds prototypes. This gives us the opportunity to discover intuitive appeal, test customer experience, foresee obstacles and design solutions more quickly.
Develop: We don’t just design a product, we help you make it a reality. MODYN will step in as your engineers or work alongside your in-house engineering team to refine the model, liaise with manufacturing, streamline elements and ensure the character of the product remains intact throughout production.
Great question. At first glance, the two might seem similar. But Digging is always around a product, whereas Directioning is about creating context for an abstract product idea. For example, if a client comes to us saying they need help designing a children’s bike we would start with the digging phase, helping the client define their positioning in the market, and assessing the current technology, where the market is at, how they’re being used right now, and so on.
But, if a client came to us asking to help them expand their current product line into the children’s market, we would start with Directioning. In this case, the client needs help defining what kind of product would work well for their brand — and we would take everything into consideration, from their current manufacturing process to their market position and what holes they might be able to fill in the market. In the Directioning phase, we steer the client toward a product direction type that will work for them.
Proven examples on the market today
Directioning has been a service we’ve provided for years, sometimes building brands from the ground up, other times defining an entirely new design identity or simply validating ideas. Unlike creative agencies that come up with lofty ideas with no real plans for how to actually bring it to market, or future projects that ideate where you could go someday, our expertise as product designers is giving you real insight, setting you off in the right direction with the right product to bring to market in the near future.
The results from our Directioning phase are always tangible and actionable, setting you off in the right direction toward success. And as a mobility design agency, we can provide unparalleled insight and expertise into your new mobility product or brand. From there, our team can then stay on board to go through the rest of the phases, from Digging to Defining, Designing and Developing. Below, we’re highlighting just a few of our biggest Directioning success stories, and the ones we’ve had the pleasure of seeing through until the end.
Well-known in the Netherlands for its high-quality kid’s products, like trampolines and go-karts, BERG Toys approached us to help them create a new toy and enter a new market. But while BERG has had a lot of success designing their own products, when it came to the scooter, they admittedly got a bit stuck. There wasn’t a lack of ideas and designs, but direction. So MODYN came in to help BERG steer the initial design process through Directioning, using a series of design sprints to get the ideas flowing, alongside a deep dive into the scooter market to determine how BERG could really make its mark.
Undoubtedly our most iconic product ever, the Yepp started off in the Directioning phase. When GMG CEO Michel Krechting first approached us, his company had already been making children’s bike seats for decades. But, Krechting wanted to create a novel product that would reposition them as market leaders.
Starting out in the Directioning phase, we helped Krechting and his team define what that product would be and how they could make the most impact on the market. At the time, children’s bike seats were still largely made of bulky plastics, heavy metals and uncomfortable shapes. We came to the conclusion that we had to create something that was safe, lightweight and comfortable while being surprisingly innovative and design-forward.
Working with GMG throughout the entire design process, we came up with the Yepp Original, made out of lightweight, supportive and colorful EVA material that was a major market innovation unmatched by anyone else at the time. The Yepp Original gave parents an option where form truly met function, and it quickly became the best-selling child’s bike seat in the world.
As a successful family-run conglomerate, VDL has an ambitious legacy that stretches into a variety of industries. In 1993, they began a decade-long portfolio expansion project where they acquired and consolidated five different bus companies. Then in 2008, VDL approached MODYN to help them enter this market for the first time as a cohesive, innovative and market-challenging bus brand.
While we knew buses were the end product, we had no idea what they would look like, since we had the opportunity to start completely from scratch. MODYN went on to not only design VDL Bus & Coach’s corporate brand identity and design DNA, but helped them become industry innovators quickly. That foundation established in our Directioning phase has given us a roadmap for a 10+ year strategic partnership, developing both public transport buses as well as luxury coaches, along the way designing innovative solutions and helping VDL capture market leadership in the electric bus segment.
Get in touch with Ruben, Maarten or Gert-Jan today to learn more about the Directioning process and how it can boost your business.