Orbital Design: An adaptive approach to creating brands and products people love

By RocketAir Crew
April 11, 2022

Design is messy

What’s your process? It’s a question we hear a lot in our industry. But the truth is: We don’t have one. Because we don’t believe that design is a single, rigid, repeatable process. 

Instead, we apply something we call Orbital Design. It’s an adaptive approach that requires us to mold our design practices to the unique problem we’re solving. 

Taylor Rosenbauer, founder and CEO of RocketAir, explains:

Our way of working is built around flexing to the realities of a messy world. It makes space for inspiration and intuition. It leaves the door open for a defined problem to change. It allows us to pivot mid-way through a project to accommodate a new client need or apply a new insight. It prevents us from ever saying, ‘We have to do this now because that’s the way it’s always done.’ We’re always going to do the right thing to get to the right result.

Orbital Design, in practice

At the core of Orbital Design is the practice of revolving ourselves around people. We focus on who we’re designing for—our clients, their business, their audience, their end-user. And that’s how we dive into every new project: learning everything we can about them. 

We believe in strategy-led design. We bring fresh perspectives and new clarity to the table—and then walk away with insights that will inform our way forward in creating brands and products that people will love. This practice can look like a lot of things: stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis, user personas. There are many tools at our disposal as designers, and an adaptive approach welcomes all of them.

For example, we partnered with Olive, a startup looking to eliminate cardboard packaging from deliveries, to design their brand and omnichannel experience. But before we started creating anything, we needed to know what mattered most to their target audience. So we wrote a brand manifesto in a simple Google Doc to test out various value propositions—from being eco-friendly and UV-sanitized packaging to one-click integration with e-commerce partners and standardized free shipping across retailers. We used the insights gleaned from this exercise to adapt our creative around Olive’s audience.

The building blocks of Orbital Design are intervals of work we call Orbits. These are constant cycles of iteration, where we’re getting closer and closer to the best possible creative solution. As part of each Orbit, we have regular checkpoints of cross-functional peer reviews to stress-test the work, bring in other expertise, and elevate the end result.

And even afterward, our work is never really finished because brands and products are never really finished. They don’t live in a vacuum; they live in an ever-changing world. Orbital Design is how we make sure we’re constantly evolving to keep pace with it. 

It’s how we Win by Design. 

Next, learn what it means to Win by Design, and check out how RocketAir is helping clients win.