The 7 BASIC steps of the Graphic Design Process are not so basic!

November 16, 2022

I’m Nelett.
The Designer of the Graphic Designers' Playbook. I help heart-led clients and designers show up with style and grace: a total Magazine, pizza and water addict. I am always striving for wholesome, mindful and soul-led living. 
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Graphic Design takes time. Despite popular misconceptions, good creative work doesn’t often come in a flash of inspiration; usually, it comes from lots of trial and error. We also need to take the time to consider several approaches or concepts, and having open communication throughout the design project makes the outcome impactful!

Understanding the design process makes the entire design experience easier for both designer and the client. The major steps are as follows:

1. Getting to know each other (aka Discovery): The first meeting can be in person or online via phone/email. This is where you start the conversation of what is needed and see if you are the right fit for each other.

2. Proper direction (aka Briefing): The essential part of the whole process. The client provides proper guidance and all required information, i.e. copy/text/images. The designer guides the client by asking the correct questions. The Designer sends a briefing form. Lead time is (1 -2 days).

3. Where the magic happens! (aka Concept development start): This step only occurs after quote approval: This part is full of research, concept designs, and seeing what works and what does not – how to get the information in balance within the desired communication medium. This is where the magic happens.

4. Client to see the design ideas (aka Presentation): When the designer has a look they feel is the best fit for the Brief, they will present the work to the client. The client is to come back in 2-3 days.

5. Client makes changes/edits (aka Revisions | Proofing): Revisions and proofing is the back and forth between client and designer. This is where changes/corrections/further design developments happen. The number of revisions differs from designer to designer. But if the brief was proper, this should be a minor process. Days depend on the changes/edits.

6. The final design gets placed into various mediums. (aka Implementation): When the client is happy with the design, the designer designs all the collateral the client needs, i.e. social media, website, and print work. Days dependent on collateral required.

7. Invoice and final files (aka Handover): ONLY once final payment has been received do you release the open files. Why? Because until the client pays, the artwork remains your property. It’s like going into a shop for milk – only once you pay can you leave with the milk)

Follow up with the client when the project is completed. This is not a step but an excellent opportunity for consistent design work coming your way. This helps nurture the relationship. Here, you can also list other items that you might help with – that they didn’t know you could be of assistance to.

And that is it! Well sort-off. This process will differ from designer to designer/agency, but it indicates a primary flow and steps to expect when working with a designer.

Please share this with your clients and clients; please take note of these steps. So the next time you work with a designer, you know what to expect and understand that the mystic process of graphic design is not quick.

DOWNLOAD this workflow chart and other tools to help you HERE.

To do great work, you need proper time. Do a great job – not fast work.

Let me know what you think!

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