There seems to be a split between creative types as to whether or not you should plan out a design. I’m personally with the group that says if you are designing something meant to be used by someone, then planning is imperative.
Planning doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, it can be as simple as the method shared in this post on the technology design cycle: investigate, plan, create, evaluate. (complete with a great graphic that shows just how fluid and ongoing the design process is.)
While some situations require the rigidity of following these steps more than others, it’s a good, clear cycle to move designs through. It allows for some creative thought on your part, as well as making sure your work is on target with what you want to accomplish. She shows it with logo design for her students, but I could see applying it to other situations that could benefit from a little forethought.
The old adage, “Fail to plan, plan to fail,” is just as valid in design as it is anywhere else.