July 18, 2011

A graphic designer’s strategy … how it involves you!

How does a graphic designer come up with ideas for your project? You are paying for their time so how do they spend it? I have already revealed the secret to creativity… it’s a strategic process! So what is this process and how can you get the most out of it for your business?

An experienced graphic designer has the skills and expertise to visually communicate your message to your audience. This takes a well thought out, holistic and strategic approach. Your business objectives, your message and the goals of the project are far more important than the way it looks. Design decisions are made for this reason. It’s not about what colour you like, it’s about what colour will send the right message to the right people.

De•sign (verb) – “Do or plan with a specific purpose or intention in mind”

So how are these design decisions made and what input can you have as a client throughout the process? The design process is a collaborative team effort and it involves you. A good graphic designer will listen and value your feedback and keep you informed throughout the design process

But be warned, they do not need your opinion on how it should be designed. This might sound a bit fiesty, but remember, you came to a graphic designer because you did not know how to do the design yourself. So trust their skills. What a good designer will be very interested in is what you want to communicate through the design – your unique style, message, target audience, goals, call to action. The intangable stuff about your business that you know backwards, that’s what you should bring to the table.

Below is an outline of the design process an experienced graphic designer is likely to take and some tips on how you can get the most out of it:

Discovery – Why all the questions?

‘Design’ is a plan with a specific purpose in mind. Your purpose. Your objectives. Your message to your customers. It is up to you to provide the problem at hand and your designers job to provide a solution. It is for this reason a designer will want to pick your brain about your business, after all they are a newbie to your business, your industry etc. They are not being nosey! They need to know this information to create a design for you that works and not just look “pretty”. For example they will ask questions about the project, your products and services, target audience, competition. etc.

Give your designer as much information as possible to help them to understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. These are the requirements and the constraints the designer will work within to create strategic design that meets your objectives and produce results.


Your designer will then prepare a brief and quote for you to approve. In the brief the designer will reiterate your needs and wants and outline your requirements for the project. This document forms the project contract which you will approve and this is what the quote will be based upon.

Have a read of the brief and make sure that the designer has understood your needs correctly and that everything that you want is included. It is best to let your designer know if anything needs to change now so that they can re-adjust the quote for you. You can ask for something later but be aware any extra work outside the scope of the brief will occur additional costs.


Before work begins, an experienced designer will conduct research to create successful communication in your design project. Research on your industry, your competitors and target audience. They gather visual reference material and find other sources of inspiration.

Give your designer any past marketing material you might have, research and statistics your have found, website URLs of your competitors, even designs that you like. This all helps towards a successful project.

Design concept/idea generation

The designer will then develop creative ideas for your project . Everyone works differently but generally concepts are developed into sketches and rough visuals. After some evaluation, the concept that best meet your objectives are chosen and then mocked up into a rough draft to present to you.

At revive we use creative brainstorming and idea generation techniques to develop possible strategies and produce concepts. Our concepts are strategic and each element has a reason. We rely on our design expertise, the elements and principles of design, colour theory and our marketing know-how to create a design that will impact your customers and create a response.

Now you can relax and concentrate on what you do best… your business. Now is the time where it is important to trust your designer that they are doing what they do best!


Your designer will present to you a draft version for your approval.

The design process is collaborative. Give your designer feedback. You will have an opportunity to make changes if needed. Before requesting the change be careful of being too subjective and ask yourself why. Remember that a designer has created the design the way it is for a reason. Always consider your target audience and how the design would make them feel. For example, the font may not appeal to you,(because your in your forties!) but will appeal to your Gen Y target audience?


Once you are happy with the outcome you will be asked to sign off your approval on the project. The designer will then start production for the project whether it is preparing the files as press ready artwork for the printer or moving into the development stages of a website.

For a project to run efficiently this means you need to have the time to make decisions & respond in a timely way. The sooner the project is completed the sooner you will start seeing results!


Designers love to hear your feedback. Like any professional, it is a valuable tool to keep their business in check to ensure they are offering the best service.

Tell them what you think of their service and how our design has worked for you. We encourage testimonials from our clients for our website and love referrals, its how we get most of our work!

What are your thoughts as a client? and what are your experiences with the design process?
We would love to hear your comments!

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