What is Graphic Design:
Graphic design is visually communicating or expressing an idea or feeling or emotion with imagery, photos, shapes, space, colors, words, and/or symbols. Sometimes that communication is done without any words at all or nothing but words. Examples of graphic design are brochures, booklets, menus, business cards, websites, posters, logos, product packaging, signs, billboards, etc.
How I Approach a Graphic Design Project:
I start all my graphic design projects by learning as much as I can about my clients needs, goals, expectations, target audience, budget, deadlines, etc. The more I know about the project, the closer I can get to meeting their needs, and hitting their target and budget. Often times, I can produce a piece that’s within their budget and on time. A 50% deposit is often required before a graphic design project can be started. Depending upon the project, I may collect content (copy, photos, graphics, logo, etc.) from my client in a digital form or physical.
Paper and Pencil
Sometimes I will produce a quick sketch during the initial meeting to make sure we’re on the same page. Sketches with paper and pencil are often my first step towards a design. I like to get an idea down on paper before approaching the computer. To me the computer is just another tool for the graphic designer.
What’s the Point?
When working on a graphic design project, it’s important to find the one message the piece needs to convey. Conceptually, what does this postcard, brochure, or poster need to say? And what you think it needs to say might not be correct. (see below).
I approach photography the same way. I often ask myself who the star is in this shot and what I’m I trying to say – what emotion do I want to get across. In a graphic design project your message needs to be perfectly clear, otherwise the viewer could totally miss it and all that time and money designing the piece was wasted.
What are you Selling?
One of my clients, Paula Montgomery, makes unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry, but that’s not what she’s selling. She sells an emotion – her jewelry makes her customers feel good about themselves. Paula’s jewelry is one-of-a-kind, and this makes the person wearing it feel the same way – unique, special, and one-of-a-kind.
Next I will produce a number of design mock-ups or prototypes, typically 1 to 3, for my client to choose from. I try to produce mock-ups that vary in style. For example, someone might say they want a very corporate feel to their brochure with dark colors and straight lines. I will provide a mock-up of that, but I might also provide an alternative design with colors that aren’t so dark, lines that aren’t so straight, etc. A third design might totally different.
Once a mock-up is chosen, I start working towards the final product. Depending upon the project, I may provide screenshots of my progress, or at least status updates. The final step is either print the piece or publish it to web, if it’s a website or a graphic for a website. If the piece is going to be printed, frequently I will work with the printer myself to make sure they get exactly what they want in the correct format and resolution.