Who’s your DADI?

While reorganizing my design book collection (which is rather all over place, both physically and thematically!), I came across an oldie but a goodie: Clement Mok’s Designing Business, published by Adobe Press way back in 1996…!

I remember purchasing this book (a pricey sixty bucks) in Ann Arbor for my first interface design class ever, taught by Loretta Staples, who in fact had worked for Clement at Studio Archetype previously. Later on in grad school at CMU, I took a brand design course featuring the opportunity to re-design Sapient’s identity system, and Clement Mok was our guest critic! Nice to have your designs ripped up by him :-) But I digress…

DADI is one of the “golden nugget” takeaways from Clement’s book. It refers to a collaborative design-driven process framework for digital projects. The acronym stand for:

  • Definition
  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Implementation

From the text:

Each of these phases involves editing, which is the process of making choices. Editing is selecting the most appropriate way to express a thought or an idea, as measured against defined goals. Design is the enhancement of an entity; it gives an entity form through the processes of addition and subtraction.

Continuing further:

It is by understanding a project’s purpose and following through with it that a business makes a successful product or service…A project needs both an external focus and an internal focus, and the two must not contradict each other…The way focus is articulated in the context of business is called an agenda, and designers must reconcile companies’ agendas with their own.

And finally:

The DADI process creates a framework that defines a project; creates an architecture that explains the process and, if necessary, the technology platform; defines who does what; defines the time frame and budget; and establishes efficient communications among the players. This process keeps any project focused on its purpose by preventing progression from one step to the next if the purpose is not understood.

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