Before we can start a project we need to know what the client needs. Gathering information is the first step of the graphic design process. There are a few questions that need to be answer so the project can go on.
- Who is the audience?
- What is the message?
- Is there a specific budget?
- Is there a deadline for completion?
- Can the client provide examples of design they like?
- Is there an existing corporate brand that needs to be matched?
- Which advertising media will be best suited for this project?
Brainstorm and Analyse
Before we even begin to create a first version of a design in graphics software, it is important to harness our creativity to come up with concepts and ideas for the project. Unless the winning idea simply pops into our head (it has been known to happen), it is often difficult to sit down and start designing without a brainstorming session.
The goal of brainstorming is to throw out any and all ideas related to a project, eventually leading to one or several to take further. This is certainly not the time to hold back ideas that may seem risky, unrealistic or even downright stupid should be jotted down. Any one of them can lead to our best work. These ideas can be:
- Overall concepts and styles
- Color schemes
- Typeface options
- Project goals
- Ideas related to the mood or emotional feel of the work
Design Concepts & Media Planning
Using the information collected in our brainstorm we will be able to develop an outline of the content and goal of the project, which we will present to the client for approval before proceeding.
The money spent for air time on radio, ad space in newspapers, magazines, and other printing costs is likely to be the largest piece of any advertising budget. Because of this, it makes sense to have a sound plan to manage that investment. We will set goals and objectives for the client and describe our strategies for achieving them. The client then has to organize the day-to-day tasks of carrying out the strategies. The tool needed to do this is a media plan that begins with an overview and works its way down to the details. It will help with every phase of advertising.
It is helpful to create some simple sketches of the layout of a piece. This way, we can show the client some ideas without spending too much time on design. This is done in order to find out if we are headed in the right direction by providing quick sketches of logo concepts, line drawings of layouts showing where elements will be placed on the page or even a quick handmade version of a package design. While we may knock out the final design in one shot, it’s usually a good idea to present to the client with at least two versions of a design. This gives the client some options and allows us to combine their favorite elements from each one.
We make sure that the client knows that we encourage “mixing and matching” the designs we provide him. They may like the background colour on one design and the font choices on another. From their suggestions we can present a second round of design, which most of the times is the final design.
With the approval of these ideas, we can move on to create the actual design, which once revised, will be our final piece.