Developing a design process is essential for graphic designers, whether you're creating a logo, a website or a business card. Using a process allows you to maintain creativity and boost your efficiency with time and budget constraints.
If you're new to design, it is important to understand the design process and practice it with every brief you receive. The more you practice your process, it will become second nature enabling you to increase your project flow and grow or start a design business.
Step 1 - Review the Design BriefRead through the design brief several times
Ascertain the client's budget and deadline for delivering the project assets. Completing the work by the due date is an essential character attribute for a professional designer.
As you analyze the brief, scanning for keywords and deliverables, consider how long the design process will be and factor this into your work plan.
Look for and highlight keywords related to industry, market, form factor, tone, and style. Learn more about this process: How to interpret and respond to a logo design brief.
If you have the ability to speak to the client (verbally or online) then ask as many questions as you can. You want to fully understand the brief.
While continuing with the next five design process steps, always refer back to the brief as a reference point. You always be referring back to the brief to ensure your designs answer the brief. Remember you're the designer with the job to solve the brief.
At this point in the process your mind be moving in circles thinking of the many designs you can create. Stop. Breathe. Continue to step 2.
Step 2 - Research and Discovery Research will make you a better designer, saving you a lot of thinking time.
This step is crucial. You'll become more engaged with the client's needs, making your design far superior than the rest. Don't skip this step if you're entering a freelance design contest, as some time spent on research (up to 30 mins) will give you an advantage.
Including a focused or short research phase in your design process will sync your ideas together to answer the brief.
Step 3 - Brainstorm and Sketch Concepts
Now is the time to pull all your ideas together. Start by creating symbols or motifs. Explore and test typefaces and keep in mind the latest logo and graphic design trends when you're working. Make sure to jot all your ideas down.
Your first go-to should be pencil on paper. Depending on your time restraints, sketch quickly or in detail. If you hand draw design elements, it will save time on digitally producing it.
The benefits of sketching allows you to create designs quickly. You're also more free to create and there are no limits. (Programs like Adobe Illustrator can be very limiting, when you want to produce quick sketches.) You might find this
Step 4 - Build On Your Concepts
Develop 3 to 5 different finished concepts to give your client some choice. They should be easy to digitalise since you created the sketches.
If you can, explain your concepts to the client in a design rationale, which explains the reasons behind each concept. PRO TIP: You'll look more knowledgable if you've done some research.
Remember to love all your concepts. Don't create something you don't like and get upset when the client chooses it.
Listen to and analyse your client's feedback when they share their view or perspective on your concepts. From here, you can further develop and be more attentive to one design.
Step 5 - Evolve and Iterate Your Concept
The client may want you to mix and match from all concepts you have presented or come up with something entirely.
It's not unusual for clients to make requests for little design tweaks. In reality, as a designer, it's part of the job to do design amendments. Again, keep in mind the time restraints and budget. Think if it's worth creating many changes, if not then communicate this to your client.
If you've won a design contest then, it's a reasonable client expectation that you will finalize the design during the handover phase. The key is to keep up the communication with the client. DesignCrowd's support team is on hand to help add some grease to this process if required.
When submitting a design on DesignCrowd, create design variations and group these together. In the following two animal logo designs, you can see there are two font options included to for the logo design. Another example of a variation could be showing the client two color options for a single logo concept.
Don't be afraid to give your expert opinion on what looks best. You're the creative lead in this relationship. Don't be passive, be assertive. There is a fine balance to strike between keeping the client happy as well as your creativity. Successful designers know how to walk this line.
Step 6 - FinishedYou're done.
In traditional agencies, designs can take months to develop and finalize with a client. Here at DesignCrowd, it takes a few hours to a few days to complete the handover phase. Now it's time to send the finished files to the client!
After submitting your finished design, start pitching to new clients and repeat the entire process again!
We hope you can see how important it is to develop a design process so as to work efficiently as a designer and build a base of happy clients.
Hi, My name is Edwin Nchaga and I am a Graphic Designer and Web designer from Nairobi, Kenya at Magnate Designs. I create result-driven and vibrant designs with respect to color psychology, user satisfaction and current design trends. I explore professional Website Design and UI Design as well, I offer Branding Consultation, motion graphics and many more. I am looking forward to working with you.