This is a question I get asked frequently from clients. They want to know what steps they can take beforehand to help with the design process and what they need to supply. Now I am not going to talk about marketing and call to actions etc. I am going to keep this simple. So let’s break down and simplify a graphic design project.
The key Elements
The text copy
The images and illustrations
The Text Copy
I am not a writer, so for your copywriting needs, there are a few options available. You could hire a writing professional to produce copy for your project. You could write it yourself or ask a friend. It’s an important piece of the puzzle and I find that most companies tend to have someone in-house who is reasonably competent at stringing sentences together. The idea here is to already have this created in a digital format before you approach us about creating a design.
The Images & Illustrations
While I am reasonably good at taking photos, I am not set-up as a photographer. So for your image needs, there are a few options available. You could hire a photographer for your project. You could photograph what you need yourself or ask a friend. Once again it’s an important piece of the puzzle like the quote says “an image is worth 1000 words.” I find that most companies tend to have someone in-house who is reasonably competent at taking photos. Another more common option is to use stock photos. Most stock photo websites are supplied by professional photographers. The images look professional and are very generic, so they can be used in most circumstances. I can source these photos for you and choose the images that work best within the design. Sometimes a design requires illustrations and I can create these for you in most cases. The idea here is to already have digital images of what you want or a clear picture of the type of images you want us to acquire before you approach us about creating a design.
This is when I ask clients if they have a particular idea of what they want in mind, like a style, colour and feel. Most clients do, but it can be quite difficult sometimes for them to put all their ideas into words. Getting an answer to this question is a very important step in the design process. It’s where you can save your client and yourself time, minimise frustration and reduce the overall design and printing costs.
Now if your one of the many people out there who have difficulty articulating your design ideas, you might find it easier to get your ideas across visually. The idea here is to give your designer images of designs you like, you could also include images you don’t like. You then need to briefly explain what you do and don’t like about them. The easiest way to achieve this is to go online and use a search engine like google and try an image search for i.e. colourful brochures or corporate brochures etc. When you find the styles you like, save them as an image and give them to your designer. That’s it! It’s a simple but significant way of achieving your vision and getting the design you really wanted. Your designer will thank you for this and you will be happier with the end result.
Another important step in preparing for a design project is to allow enough time. Your average design project roughly takes between 2 to 4 weeks to be completed. But of course, this depends on your designer’s workload. Now, if the project needs to be printed, you are looking at another 2 to 3 weeks. Personally, I would allocate a minimum of 8 weeks in total for your average project to be designed and printed. I would add another 4 weeks if the project was for a special event. Sometimes things just go wrong, people get injured, computers blow up and printing presses break down. Shit happens. So be prepared for it and leave enough time.