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7 Steps to a perfect Graphic Design Process

Creating a robust process is the difference between a professional and an amateur graphic designer. In this blog, we’ll be exploring seven steps that you can follow in order to provide strategic, well thought-out designs to your client.

#1 Briefing

The first, and most critical, step to a thoughtful design process is obtaining a brief. A basic brief will give you a high-level overview your client’s request, but a GREAT brief will include more background information on the project that can include:

  • Objectives
  • Target audience
  • Value propositions
  • Clear scope of work with an outline of deliverables
  • Timing
  • Budget

A graphic designer can do basic work with a basic brief, but you should ALWAYS ask for more information if you can.

#2 Researching

The best way to understand what you’re trying to do and how to approach it, you have to do your research.

What kind of marketing does your client currently do?
What about their competitors?

Your goal here is to get a full view of your client’s ecosystem and generate ideas that fit the market, industry trends, and their customers base.

#3 Brainstorming

Now that your brain full of information, it is time start brainstorming and ideating.

During this step, focus on quantity over quality. Don’t hesitate to use other design ideas as a starting point. The possibilities are endless, so allow yourself to think BIG.

Include any colors, typography, taglines, and symbols that come to mind.

#4 Sketch

In this step, you are starting to materialize the ideas.

All you really need is a pen and paper, but you can use whatever method you are comfortable with. Once you’re in a good place, it’s perfectly OK to share rough sketches with your client to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.  But keep the feedback high level – there’s still a lot of work ahead!

#5 Designing

Finally, you get to do what you do best – Design!

Fire up your favorite design software and start designing based on your sketches. You’ll want to create at least 3 variations of your design to give your client options to choose from. Regular client feedback is key, so make sure to include work-in-process reviews in this step.

#6 Presenting

You’re almost there!

With most of the design work behind you, it is now time to wow your client with a final presentation. You’ll want to present your work as final, so always include high-resolution and/or quality printed designs in this step.  For virtual presentations, try using mockups to help your client visualize the final product.  Keep in mind, just because this is a final presentation, your client may still have last minute changes.  Make sure to keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to defend your work!

#7 Production

A graphic designer’s job is not over until the project is delivered, in its final form, to the client. Although the design work is done, graphic designers are often an integral part of the production process. They are largely responsible for reviewing digital proofs, attending press checks, and may even be required to be onsite during design installations for events, like trade shows – so make sure you’re still available to your clients through this time, if it’s required.

Then you should be done!

Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard process for everyone, and your current process might include many more steps. But if these general steps go according to plan, you’ll have a satisfied client that is happy to pay top dollar for your designs.

Want to see this process in practice?

Contact Residual Studios today and we’ll show you how our process can mean your success.