The Design Process

Planning for success


The design process helps identify opportunity for improvements and innovation, long-term success, and meeting targeted outcomes.

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

You’re ready to hire

We’d like to learn about your business, goals, and budget. Feel free to contact us, or get a head start in the process by filling out our Client/Project Form. After review, we’ll contact you for a FREE 20-minute meeting.

Once we have a thorough understanding, you will receive an estimate or a proposal depending on the scope of the project. And if you’re ready to proceed, a contract and a deposit will be required to begin the work.

Phase 1: Discovery

The design process begins

When we enter Phase 1: Discovery, we’ll be conducting a deep dive into your brand and company to set the course of direction for possible design solutions.

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 essential for complex clients such as government or organizations with many moving parts and is especially important if we are new to working together.

These sessions ensure that I capture all necessary information that could impact branding and messaging, concept development, technical issues, timelines, final decisions, content, and more. It really sets the stage for success.

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, we can design a strategic direction that is customized to your brand, 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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