Our 4-Step Design Process

by | Jul 11, 2019

Whatever branding or design project we’re working on with our clients, we always follow the same 4-step process. When we all understand, and follow the same steps, we stand the best chance of delivering the perfect design solution – on brief, on time and on budget.

Please take a look. And if it sounds like your perfect process too, drop us a quick ‘hello’ about your next exciting project, and we’ll get the creative ball rolling…

We learn all about you, your business or organisation, your ’story’, your future plans, and how we can help.

We love finding out about our clients’ objectives (the wider, business ones and the specific, project ones), and it’s this vital stage of talking that feeds into every design brief, whether it’s for a new corporate identity, a new business card, a new product label, or a new set of Social Media graphics.

Sometimes, clients already have a really clear idea what they want and need, and how they want it to look. And when that’s the case, we’ll happily develop and implement their concept and realise their vision as a professional piece of design or artwork.

More often though, clients admit that they’re either not creatively minded or talented, or that they don’t know exactly what they need or want. they’d rather concentrate on what they’re best at (running their business) and leave the design concepts to us. And then the fun can start!

We do our ‘homework’ and come back with a plan (initial recommendations and proposed project costs).

Once we’ve talked with you, Linda and I talk more to each other, and then carry out more background research into your business sector and any competitors, as well as reviewing your current visual presentation.

At this point, we’ll send you our project proposal outlining the requirements, the work involved, the associated costs and timings, and any immediate recommendations.

We use our expertise to produce and present designs that you’ll love and want to show the world.

Assuming you’ve approved the project brief produced and the project proposal and costs, we’re ready to start the exciting design stages.

And it’s ‘stages’ plural, because after our initial Creative Concepts presentation, we always allow for two rounds of amends.

Sometimes those amends will be major, and sometimes they’re not needed at all, but usually, they’re used to ‘fine-tune’ your preferred Stage 1 Creative Concept. By building them in at the outset, we’re also building in some flexibility and ‘breathing space’ into the design process.

Whenever we start working on your project, we’ll look back at our research into your business sector/industry and your competitors. This is never about copying what other people are doing – quite the opposite. It’s about defining your distinctive brand ‘personality’ and using our design concepts to establish your unique style.

We’ll often sketch out our early ideas in black and white on an ‘old-school’ layout pad, before reviewing them and working up our favourites digitally on-screen. Working digitally also lets us introduce colour – one of the most powerful design ‘tools’ at our disposal.

We’ll then review our concepts internally and arrange to present them to you – ideally in person, but if that’s not possible, we’ll email you a PDF file with detailed notes explaining our thinking and approach, and then follow up with a Skype or phone call to discuss them whenever it’s convenient.

Hopefully you’ll feel comfortable about giving us 100% honest feedback, because when clients do, the results usually turn out far better.

We’ll then discuss and review your feedback, produce and present developed ideas, and move towards the final design or artwork ASAP.

And because we’ve worked in design for a scary 50+ combined years(!), our knowledge of print processes and file format requirements means we’ll always supply you, your printer, or your web developer exactly the right file(s) – extra peace of mind, when you need it most.

We keep taking to you, and working with you to keep you looking your best.

If our relationship’s a long and successful one (and we hope it will be :), the design process will be an ongoing one, with regular catch-ups and checks to make sure your creative marketing materials are all looking and working the way you want them to.

And if we spot something that’s not quite right – a slight colour inconsistency here, or a slight typeface error there – we’ll help you fix it, so your company’s most valuable visual assets and marketing materials stay professional-looking, consistent, and protected long into the future.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” 

Henry Ford