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Having the people you’re designing for make and explain a collage can help you understand their values and thought processes.


Suggested Time

30-60 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, paper, glue, magazines


Design team, people you’re designing for

Process Phase

Making things is a fantastic way to think things through, one that we use at IDEO.org to unlock creativity and push ourselves to new and innovative places. Getting the people you’re designing for to make things can help you understand how they think, what they value, and may surface unexpected themes and needs. Collages are an easy, low-fidelity way to push people to make something tangible and then to explain what it means to them.


  1. When you meet the people you’re designing for, make sure you have Collage supplies with you.
  2. Give the people you’re designing for a prompt for their collage. Perhaps you ask them to make a collage that represents taking control of their lives, their dream jobs, or how they think about their families.
  3. When they’re finished, ask them to describe the collage, what the various elements represent, and how it speaks to the prompt. Not only will you have a visual record of your research, but you can use the Collage as a springboard to further conversation or to explore new areas in your research.