Design Direction Factors

In early-stage design process (research-conceptualization), what factors or inputs are necessary to direct the project?

In an ideal world what would these factors be and how would they be used to guide a project?

What is the customer’s problem.

What does the competition offer.

What can the client (company that’s footing the bill) deliver.

Define the problem to be solved and for whom.

Try to visualize the guard rails for the solution in terms of crafting a world for the solution to fit within, specifically in relation to brand. Is it part of a collection, series, or portfolio or should it intentionally contrast with existing products in the line?

Answer as best as possible (and visually if possible) the who, why, where, and how of the program.