Determine design principles

Our design team at ZapLabs often found it difficult to compare competing designs or make design tradeoffs, because we’d never determined our design principles.

I set up a design team meeting and required everyone to present their ideas. For inspiration, I suggested my teammates check out Design Principles FTW, which has a great collection of design principles from Google, Facebook, Apple, and more companies.

I set up a second meeting and asked everyone to write down their principles on sticky notes. Then we all put them up on the wall to group them and rank their importance.

I printed out the design principles we created and cut them into pieces. I drew a giant pyramid on the whiteboard and put a sample of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs next to it. Each of us got a set of principles and put them into the pyramid based on the way we wanted to rank them.

Finalize Design Principles

Here’s what we ended up with

  • Know your user = Bread (basic needs)
  • Clarity + Consistency & Efficiency= Ingredients (psychological needs)
  • Aesthetics = Sauce (self-fulfillment needs)

Principles diagram

I created a diagram with the goal of helping the rest of our team understand the principles and help them visualize the importance of each one.

To learn more about how we defined our design principles, please read my article published on the Invision Blog.