MY DESIGN PROCESS
Graphic design is much more than just plonking words and pictures onto a layout or creating 'just' a logo. Every project is intricate and consists of multiple steps. The exact process may differ depending on the project and timescale, and different designers work in different ways. While the first steps don't involve any designing, they are just as important in informing the direction of your project.
Below is a summary of my own creative process and how I generally approach my projects. You can see why I love being a designer, given the amount of involvement and the variety of possible outcomes! Feel free to ask me any questions.
01 CONNECT & DEFINE THE NEED
This is where I get to know you, and your needs and expectations for your project. I'll either meet in person or over Zoom – I think it's important to talk face-to-face., especially if we've not worked together before, At this point I'll outline next steps so you know what to expect from me.
02 THE PROJECT BRIEF
I have a comprehensive online brief which I send out for any new project. This allows me to ask a number of key questions and consolidate my understanding of the aim of your project. It also means I always have the important information to hand. This way I can make sure I understand the correct meaning of your goal and how best to structure the design to convey the desired outcome.
Typical questions include collecting information on project purpose, competitors, target audience, branding, goals, style and budget. I ask my clients to fill out as much as they can, as is relevant to them.
Once I have received your brief, I'll put together a basic proposal document which will outline my strategy and fees. If you're happy to proceed, I'll send you my contract to sign. This isn't as scary as it sounds, and I've never needed to refer to them again, it just covers us both in the case of any future issues.
03 RESEARCH & STRATEGY
Research is where I generate and gather ideas. I love this part as it's so interesting. My research is carried out based on the brief provided and any ensuing conversation. I take all the info which has been determined so far and begin to brainstorm i.e., creatively looking at solutions, and how best to structure your project. This includes you and your business, history, competitors, ideas, inspiration, current trends, timeline and milestones, deliverables, tasks, phases, resources. and what is currently performing well in your industry.. This may involve further collaboration as required. This research is essential in understanding what your design should or shouldn't look like! I may create a moodboard of visual ideas to determine the direction of the project before starting work on the actual design..
04 SKETCHING & DESIGN CONCEPTS
Now the real fun begins as I start idea generation and visual exploration. I’ll begin by sketching some ideas, either 'old school' in a sketchbook or straight onto my iMac. Depending on the type of project, I'll possibly create some 'thumbnails' to play with various ideas and see what does and doesn't work well. I'll come up with a colour palette unless you already have one in place. If you have an existing logo or brand identity, the colour palette (and any other elements such as typefaces) will already be determined by this. Self-critique
is key here as I seek to find the best solution; do my ideas respond well to the brief, how do they compare to the research, are they applicable to the target audience and do they stand out from any competitors? There's a lot of tinkering and refining at this stage!
05 REVISIONS & CONCEPT REFINEMENT
I work in a digital design format using the Adobe Creative Cloud. When ready, I will email you a PDF presentation of best ideas – hopefully you will love them! It's great to then get together in person or via video call to chat through the concepts and rationales. This is your time to give me any feedback. While some find this nerve-wracking, I actually relish it as it helps me create the best design for you. Design is organic and this is just one part of getting it to the best place possible. I will discuss any new ideas that arise and tweak the designs accordingly – it may mean some to-ing and fro-ing.
06 CLIENT APPROVAL
By this stage, the design is completed and just needs final approval, usually just an email to sign-off on the work. Occasionally, some reworking may be required if the client determines that the arrangement, structure or content has changed. Depending on the extent of this, it may require added cost. However as soon as I'm given the thumbs-up, I start packaging everything up.
07 FINAL FILES & DELIVERY
I will prepare all the files (whether for print or digital or both) as required. If your project is for print, I can prepare and send these to you or directly to the print house. If I am liaising with the printing company, I will need to know quantities and print deadlines as well as any special instructions.. I will also send you all the finished files. If your project is for digital output, I’ll make sure I send you everything in the correct format.
08 DESIGN ROLL-OUT & SUPPORT
Your new design is now 'out there' in print or digitally! You have 'presence' and your customers can see what you’re all about. Design can make a huge difference in helping you communicate with your target market. Further support from me for your project is available regarding any design queries. It's great being able to use my skills and experience to help your venture grow. As with many of my clients, it might also be the start of a beautiful professional relationship!