Concept vs Design

06 Nov 2017 Mr. Peterman Product

When talking to a designer, it helps to be able to speak the same language. The two terms that have caused the most confusion between clients and their designers are concept and design. There could be a lengthy argument for when each word should be used, or even that they are interchangeable. However, defining a word’s meaning can help make sure the right conversation is had.
To put it simply; a concept is a starting point, or an idea.  Concepts come in many different forms including 3D models, sketches, renders, verbal or written descriptions, a scribble, a single sentence, models, or animations. The range of options we have at our disposal to convey concepts are vast. Concepts do not have to exist in reality, they can push the envelope of reality and go places we can’t yet.
Designs are concepts that have developed blueprints and fully defined instructions. A good example from the gaming world would be that the description of a game is the concept, the code that makes the game work is its blueprint, and the game experience is the design. This doesn’t mean that a design is final. Most designs go through revisions and changes, but no descent design remains vague.  A good design is complete enough that every detail has been accounted for and exists in a measurable and definable way. Designs are rooted in the here and now, they follow current technologies and our understanding of physics. There are always “blue-sky projects” the leading edge of design that follows our craziest concepts and pushes us forward, but the majority of design sits comfortably in the achievable realm.
At the Peterman Design Firm we follow this: a concept is any idea not ready for production and a design is one that is. We, along with many designers, work through the entire process, concept to production. In order to go to production, you need a design, in order to create a design, you need a concept, in order to create a concept, you need an idea. We facilitate concepts, designs, and every step in between.