The Design Process

Planning for success

The design process helps identify opportunity for improvements, strategy, project success, and positive end-user experience

Effective communication and collaboration between designer and client is the secret to a long-lasting business relationship, and many people who are new to working with a designer tend to feel nervous about the process. If you happen to be in this state, to get you feeling more comfortable, I’ve included a brief outline of what to expect through the four main project phases that we will endeavour together. These phases ensure that the designer and client are both receiving what they need to finish a project on time, on budget, and with the targeted outcomes that were identified in Phase I.

The process below is an overall general workflow for standard graphic design services. A website design process has additional phases that are not included here, and a separate six-phase process for Brand Strategy Development is also not included in this list.

Request for Estimate & Client Discovery

You’re ready to hire a designer

First I meet with you to learn about your business and marketing goals. We can begin this process with you filling out my Client/Project Form. After review, I’ll contact you for a FREE 30-minute meeting to gather additional information.

Once I have a thorough understanding of your business, your challenges, and marketing needs, I can provide you with a estimate or a proposal depending on the scope of the project. If you’re ready to proceed, a contract and payment of 50% of the cost is required before beginning the project work.

Phase 1: Research & Project Discovery

The design process begins

In our initial meeting, we would have focused our knowledge-building on your industry, business, target audience, brand vision, mission, competitors, the discovery of your pain points, and more. When we enter Phase 1: Research & Project Discovery (also known as the Creative Briefing), we’ll be focusing on the design solutions as a means to confirm a clear understanding of the actual project.

At times, depending on the scope of the project and size of the business, between one to three, 1-hour long discovery sessions may be required. The discovery phase is most important for complex clients such as government or organizations with many moving parts going on at once, and is especially important if we are new to working together.

These sessions ensure that I capture all necessary information that could impact concept development, technical issues, timelines, final decisions, content, etc.

The second half of this phase is the creative research effort and it is directly related to ‘design thinking’. It promotes inspiration, helps protect designer and client against plagiarism and copyright infringement, and promotes memorable and unique design ideas. Using all the knowledge gathered thus far, I can design a strategic direction that is customized to your business needs and goals.

Phase 2: Design Exploration

Brainstorming and conceptual development

The design phase is where all our previous work pays off. It’s the continuation of the design process, which is actually made up of 3 high-level stages: 1. Defining the problem, 2. Brainstorming design solutions, and 3. Creating the form.

This is when the brainstorming, mind-mapping, mood boards, thumbnails and mock-ups happen. Initial concepts will be developed for presentation to you. This phase may require qualitative consumer research to support and evaluate these designs.

Phase 3: Design Refinement

Finalizing the designs

After the concepts created in the design exploration phase has been approved, they will be refined into finished artwork.

At this point, you have two opportunities to request revisions.

Phase 4: Technical Implementation & Delivery

Pre-press and release of final design assets

All design work has been approved for release. This is the final phase; translation of all the finished designs into formats that can be used by printers, film houses, and/or web developers.

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