Most designers have been taught and learned from experience that not following a thoughtful process can make or break the success of your project. It is such an important part of what we do, but so easily overlooked and under appreciated by most obviously, ammature designers, but unfortunately also the occasional client. This can be for various reasons both intentional or unintentional. Either way, I want to use this post to highlight the importance of the thoughtful steps a good designer will and should take for you the client.
What exactly does the process behind good design look like? Every designer is going to have slightly different approaches that suit their personal workflow and style ,but I would say there is a general set of steps in the processes that are important to follow.
Here is a list of steps I find most critical, especially in my logo and identity design process.
The brief is thorough communication with the client to collect important information about not only the specific project at hand, but also the company or organization’s background, self perception, target markets / audience, competition, expectations, limitations, and any existing branding guidelines that need to be adhered to. I make sure they share any and all information that will influence the project in any way.
With all the information collected from the client above used as my guide, I dig deeper into each of those details listed above. This begins to provide a collection of valuable resources to aid the next step.
The two steps above have served well in filling my mind with what matters and where goals lie. Here is where the creative juices start to flow. Anything goes! For me the goal here is to let all ideas come to me good and bad. Obviously the bad will get purged,but you’d be surprised how not so good ideas lead to the great ideas. The mind works in wondrous ways! Multiple very rough sketching is usually a big part of this step.
4. Sketch exploring
In this step I am still generating ideas but also beginning to translate those ideas onto paper with pencil or pen. Some designers like to jump in the computer quick, but not this girl. I will do most all of my idea exploring and refining with good old pencil and paper until I narrow things down to the solution I am confident in finalizing in the computer.
5. Build and finalize
Now that we have our well thought out idea or concepts, it’s time to bring them to life in the computer. This is where all that hard work above pays off. My goal is to have thought things through so thoroughly in the steps above that all I am doing here is icing the idea cake.
I have referred to myself in the past as a “pencil pusher”. This is because as I mentioned above I am a firm believer in pushing out most all of your ideas in the “pencil” stage of the game. Some might call it old fashioned, but I find it creatively freeing.