Just as every client is unique, so is every project. But underpinning every solution is a creative design process.
Once the parameters of the brief has been established (what is the job, budget and timescale), the first stage of the creative design process is research.
I will market research your business sector – who are your competitors, and are there any similarities in visual style. Things such as names, illustrations, graphics, fonts, and colours.
Are there similarities in the products and services being offered? All these will be important to know in order to avoid design duplicates, and the problems these will bring.
Also, it’ll be good to know what your preferences as a business owner are towards a certain look or style, and why – are they based on personal preference, or what your target client base would prefer.
Establishing these points at the beginning is useful to refer back to, to keep the project on track as it progresses. It will also help to define and refine the process of the next stage.
The second stage of the creative design process is where brainstorming happens, the creation of concepts that will provide the design solution. Designing concepts to meet a specific goal is an objective with very subjective methods – where we draw inspiration from and how we formulate ideas can be difficult to put into words.
Many concepts are created at this point, a large amount of which won’t be used but instead will act as a bridge, or stepping stone, to reach a new stage of development. And occasionally, two separate ideas can come together to create a new, third concept.
The goal is to develop about three preliminary design concepts guided by the research which will provide the pathway to the design solution. The best ideas are sketched out and presented to the client for feedback.
Following this, the objective will be to reduce all the possible paths and tangents the project could follow down to one definitive area of development. Once a winning concept is chosen, it’s time to progress to the next stage.
The third stage of the creative design process is where a first draft of the concept is created with technical precision. If it’s a logo design, the concept is drawn up in Adobe Illustrator – or if it’s a series of page layout designs, then Adobe InDesign is used.
Colour palettes are fixed, fonts and sizes are decided upon, grids and space are plotted out. The process is a loop of exploration and refinement pushing towards a presentable finished concept. Mockups are usually created to demonstrate the design in a real-world environment.
This is also the stage where revisions can take place, based upon the client’s input. The broad brushstrokes are in place, but there is scope for refinement.
Once all revisions have been made and implemented into the design, the point will have been reached where the project has turned from a design concept into a design solution.
The final stage of the creative design process is the delivery of the project. This is where the design is packaged into the correct graphics file formats so it can be used commercially in the digital and print worlds.
For example, a magazine layout will be exported with print pdf settings for use by a commercial printer, and if required, as a pdf with settings for use with an online publisher, incorporating hyperlinks.
Or if the project is a logo, it will be packaged into print files (usually pdf or eps file formats) and for use online (svg, png, and jpeg files). Colour variation derivative files will also be packaged in the same manner.
Whatever your project requirements are, the finished design will be presented in the required file formats for you to use straightaway.