Evolution of a Design

It’s usually best to force yourself to come up with more than one version of an idea. Each iteration is more refined until in the end you have a better overall design. Sure, you might make missteps, but overall you’ll make progress. When I first started the Stahl group website, this was the graphic on the home page.

Original graphic from the Stahl Group website.
Original graphic from the Stahl Group website.

I wanted to try and make something with a bit more flair, while still keeping the original meaning. The graphic shows a catalytic cycle and how each focus of their research feeds into it. As we discussed the design more we wanted to show that some aspects feed into the group’s catalysis research (reaction mechanisms, synthetic methods, electrocatalysis) and others are products of the research (renewable energy, green chemistry). For those non-chemists out there, in a catalytic cycle the reactants typically enter on the lower-right, and products exit the cycle on the upper-left. Prof. Stahl also wanted to incorporate oxygen (O2) as the group’s catalysis research focuses on using oxygen as the oxidant. Below shows how my design evolved over time.

Design C was the last one I created and I felt it was the best overall. In the end, Prof. Stahl preferred the design from A, with slight modifications–the final result being design D.

There were actually more versions than this, but I wanted to show you the big steps in the design evolution, not every subtle change. This whole process reminded me that in the end the designer has to go with what the client wants, not necessary the version that the designer prefers.


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