04 Feb 2019

A Beginner’s Guide to Design Thinking

As advertising experts, it’s our job to solve problems. From driving new business, to increasing awareness, to encouraging sales, solving problems is really all we do.

Getting to the solutions isn’t always easy, but we help the process along by subscribing to a specific methodology – design thinking. Today, we’re going to walk you through our process, and help you implement the same practices at your company.

First of all, we need to understand the problem we’re trying to solve. Our list of clients is diverse, which means the list of problems we face every day is as well. It’s important for us to throw preconceived notions out the window, and really get into the nitty gritty of what makes our clients’ target audience tick.

Next, we define the problem. We incorporate what insights we’ve gained through our background research, and apply it to the specific problem at hand. We make special note of what features and benefits our client’s product or service is offering, and how those attributes can be figured into our solution.

Finally, we brainstorm. This is the stage where our office turns into an idea factory. We do our best to think outside the box, create new solutions, and view the problem from as many angles as possible. We sometimes take this stage of the process into our clients’ workplace, facilitating brand visioning sessions that encourage free thinking and get everyone’s gears turning.

After we have a couple of ideas in our heads, we get to work. We produce various versions of copy, graphics, and tactical ideas, all in a scaled-down version we can present to our clients for approval. We look at this stage in the process as an experiment, and we welcome mistakes. Hopefully, at the end we have an end product that satisfies both our standards and the expectations of our client.

The end of the road comes with our evaluation. Did our ideas work? Were we effective? What could we improve upon? After all, we’re never completely satisfied with ourselves.

What happens next? We get back to the drawing board and on to the next project.


I’m Sophie Mann, and I work at encite branding + marketing + creative as Vice President of Strategy. My job entails a continuous study of business, marketing, data and culture, all in the name of driving strategy forward. I’m passionate about helping brands resonate more strongly with their consumers and communicate with their ideal clients. I’m also a proud graduate of the University of Kansas - Rock Chalk!