Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Have you ever had a design that went completely off track? When you saw the concepts you were thinking - what on earth?!?! In my experience, this is usually the result of poor planning and miscommunication between the client and designer. The goals, objectives, and expectations were not clear on either side resulting in an ineffective design. This wastes time, money and resources. No one wants to be in that situation.
Design, or I should say good design, always starts with a plan. Once you know what it is meant to do, you can focus on the creating the visuals, layout, typography, and colours.
When starting a new project, ask these questions first:
Who is the target audience?
What is the purpose of this design project?
What is this project meant to do?
What action am I looking for the audience to have?
Understanding the objective for the design upfront is the most important step in the design process. You and your designer should know exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish, before any design talk happens. When getting to know a new client, or starting a new project, I always like to have a conversation about the goals of the project. I follow this up with a questionnaire that really helps me to understand their brand, values, goals, challenges, and helps to set expectations right from the start. It saves everyone time and money and a potentially ineffective design. It allows for the design to be more targeted, specific, and engaging to their ideal client and this will result in more engagement and improve the ROI (return on investment).
good graphic design is planned.
It requires research, preparation, and thoughtfulness. It will marry the purpose of project with a visual story that leads your eye through the design, communicating a very clear message. It will evoke an emotion and pull you in. A good designer will do their homework and invest time in the design up front.
A great place to start is by working with your creative team to create a design brief or creative brief that will help you work together towards a targeted plan and design. If you already have one in place? AMAZING! Keep up the awesome work planning great designs. If you are not currently using one, no worries! There are so many great resources available. For Sweet P, we use our About You - Brand Form with new clients and once we have an established relationship, we use a creative brief for new projects along our journey together. I swear by this process. It keeps everyone on plan, on time, on budget, and on the same page. So if you don't already have one in place, I highly recommend you start with your next design.
A side note, after you complete your design, remember to go back and review the outcome(s) against your goal(s). This helps you understand if the design was a success or if there were key learnings, insights or challenges. You can (and should) leverage these learning for your next design to make it more memorable, creative and engaging to your target audience.
Have you used a creative brief before? What tips & tricks do you have for planning and preparing for a new design?