If you’ve never designed anything, you might think that the process is quick and easy. A brilliant idea pops into your head, you turn it into an image, and presto! You’re done! The truth is good design is like anything else in your business. It takes skill, creativity, and a structured workflow to get the best results. But what exactly is that workflow? Let’s take a deep dive into our eight step process.
1. Define the need
What are you designing something for? Is it a new product? Brand awareness? A special offer? The very first thing you need to do is define why you need this particular piece.
2. Brainstorm the concept
Brainstorming is not about rigid ideas. It’s about letting your mind wander and thinking outside of the box. Think, say, and write down everything you think of when you think about your concept.
Once you know why you are creating the piece, and have all your initial ideas written down, it’s time to distill it into the brief. Whether you design in house or hire someone to do it for you, you need to have a rough idea of the concept written down.
4. Mock-ups and sketches
Mock-ups don’t always happen. Sometimes, you love the first “quick and dirty” version of a design so much from the start that you just go with it. But sometimes, you need to look at a few options to figure out which direction you want to go in. Mock-ups and rough sketches are done fast and provide a rough overview of the design. This lets you decide what you love (and hate) before too much time is spent on it.
5. First draft
Whether you’re writing, designing, or trying out a new recipe, it’s very unlikely it’ll be perfect the first time around. This is why, once you have the concept and a mock-up or rough sketch, you first create a draft. This is a cleaner, tidier, closer to done version of the final product, without actually being the final version.
At first draft stage, you may have one or two versions of the design, so that you can choose what you like and don’t like. You will review the overall design and decide on changes, as necessary.
After the first draft has been reviewed and changes requested or noted, it’s back to the drawing board one more time. Rough edges are polished, positions are perfected, and colors are tweaked until they’re simply perfect.
7. Review and proofing
There might be one round of revisions, or you might need to do another to get things right. At this point, your design is almost ready to go out into the world and stun and stupefy your fans, friend, and prospective customers. But you still have to do a final review and proof. Check that everything is exactly as you want it, double check any text for spelling and grammar, and make sure the colours and images are just right.
Finally, when you’ve gone through all these steps, it’s time to release your design into the world.
This might seem daunting, but many of the steps are short, and on smaller design projects, can take place at the same time. It’s important not to rush your designs though. Perfecting your marketing message and branding is a big part of advertising success. So, take extra time. Make sure the concept is fantastic and spend extra time polishing.
Great design doesn’t just happen. Even creativity needs a plan!