The Design Document

A better way to start the design process.

Visual of the design document

A Foundation For Good Design

Good design is not only how it looks. It's also how it works and how it feels. The problem it solves. The people it is made for. However, too often, our design process starts with visuals, one way or another. The Design Document aims to change that and to provide a starting point for good design.

I like to start a new design in a text file. It's fast, easily shareable and it forces me to think through the thing I am going to design. Over the years, I collected questions and suggestions to guide my thinking. All of that turned into a template I am now sharing with others: The Design Document.

Screenshot of the landing page for the design document
The landing page for “The Design Document”

The Landing Page

The landing page follows a simple and clear approach: keep it short. There's only one visual, one headline, one paragraph of text and one call-to-action. Viewing the site on an average laptop or desktop display requires no scrolling, and on mobile devices it is still a short page.

The main challenges when designing the site were to create a compelling visual and to write only one paragraph of text that communicates everything a visitor and potential user of the document needs to know. This is also one of the advantages of a design like this: you as the creator are forced to communicate clear and simple — there is only one paragraph of text available.

The Document

The template itself is a simple PDF file created by exporting my original document from Notion. As such, it can be downloaded and viewed directly in the browser and if somebody wants to use it as a starting point for their own design work, they can copy and paste it into their text editor of choice.

Go have a look at the landing page and the document here: