The double diamond

The Double Diamond is a visual representation of the design and innovation process. Originally created by Design Council in 2003, and launched publicly in 2004, the Double Diamond has since become a cornerstone of design language. It is recognised and referenced by design practitioners across disciplines, industries and sectors worldwide.

Why was it created?

At the time, Design Council was looking to tell a more consistent story about the design process. As part of this exploration, Richard Eisermann (then Director of Design and Innovation at Design Council), set his design and innovation team the task of answering the question: “How do we describe design process?”. This team was a mix of both Design Council and independent strategists working on challenge-oriented projects, and included Anna White, Chris Vanstone, Gill Wildman, Jennie Winhall, and Jonathan Ball.

How was it developed?

Richard was newly appointed to his role at Design Council, and brought with him an understanding of divergent and convergent process models, based on his experience at Whirlpool and Ideo. With Richard’s guidance, the Design and Innovation team deconstructed the processes for the host of methods they had used across a variety of different design-led projects. Through review, they began to see similarities, patterns and repeatable characteristics emerge.

From their findings, they were able to distill and combine the simple elements involved in design process, irrespective of the methods or tools used. The team identified four distinct process phases, which they named discover, define, develop and deliver. The diamond shapes represent the divergent and convergent thinking that happens at different stages of the design process. Within these structures, there are also points of iteration for research, learning, prototyping and testing.

Although the Double Diamond is a graphic convenience, its simplicity and symmetry helps to introduce the concept of design process in an accessible way. There are several ways in which it can be employed, and this versatility has increased its popularity.

“The team defined four distinct process phases, which they named discover, define, develop and deliver.”

Where can it be used?

Amongst other things, we at What Could Be use it to:

  • Assess project types and approaches
  • Prioritise large project portfolios
  • Focus teams at the start of a project
  • As a method for shaping a project or for reviewing progress
  • Or as a training tool.

The Double Diamond is largely unchanged since its inception. It may have originated from humble beginnings as the answer to a simple question, but its impact has been far reaching.

© What Could Be 2018