Does design influence what consumers choose to buy? Studies have demonstrated that the answer is yes.
The impact of good graphic design is clear. However, you have to prove that you're the best choice to be a client's graphic designer. The way you plan and execute a graphic design project will either build your client base or drive clients away.
Keep reading for 9 tips to improve the planning for your graphic design ideas.
- Learn about the Client
The first step in any graphic design project is learning about the client. You want to know:
- Mission, vision, and goals of the organization
- Products and services the business provides
- Client's expectations
You need to go beyond the surface level, though. You need to understand factors such as:
- Benefits of the client's product or service for their customers
- How the business differentiates itself
- Any challenges the company is facing
A graphic designer may use a questionnaire to get this type of information from the potential client.
- Optimize Your Design Brief
Whether you're working alone on your graphic design project or supervising a team, a good design brief is essential.
A design brief defines the goals, scope, and strategy of your design project. It guides the workflow of your project. It helps you reach agreement from stakeholders.
You need to get input from everyone involved in the digital design. Using a document-sharing tool like Google Docs makes collaboration easier. Everyone always has access to the current version of the brief and can easily provide feedback.
If your design project is complex, going over the design brief in person or via video chat is a good idea. This helps ensure that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the project.
- Be Thorough in Your Market Research
Learning about your client's market, competitors, and consumers helps you generate better graphic design ideas. You want to understand the client's point of differentiation.
This helps you create a design that fits:
- The client's market
- Industry trends
- The client's target customers
Research includes a variety of strategies. You can look at competitors' designs. You can see what the intended audience engages with on social media.
- Brainstorm Ideas Freely for Your Graphic Design Project
Brainstorming takes your design brief and research and turns them into useful ideas. You and your team need an open environment for brainstorming. You need the freedom to find a truly innovative concept.
You can fuel your creativity with all the elements of your project, including:
Brainstorming helps you explore how these elements can work together to support the message.
If you're working with a team, you may be able to schedule a live brainstorming session. When a live session isn't possible, you can use a collaborative tool or application. You want to give your designers an environment that supports their creativity.
- Keep Your Mockups
After you generate some promising ideas, you can start sketching out mockups. The best method for sketching depends on which tools you use most comfortably.
Many graphic designers start with a pencil and paper before moving to a digital medium. You may be able to make changes more quickly when the designs are still rough. You can start sketching with digital tools right away if you prefer.
Mockups aren't supposed to be perfect or finalized. They're a way for you to start sharing your ideas.
Keep your mockups. You may be tempted to delete concepts you don't like, but some of those ideas could be useful later.
- Get Feedback on Your Sketches from the Client
When you have a few sketches that you feel meet the project criteria, you can start sharing them with the client. You want to get feedback before your graphic design gets too far along. This saves you a significant amount of time.
If you discover that the client wants you to change direction, you can adapt easily in the sketching phase.
- Use the 10/50/99% Feedback Model
The 10/50/99% approach can help you get the right feedback at the right time. When the graphic design project is only 10% complete, you have an outline of the final project. You can easily incorporate feedback that adjusts the direction of the project.
When the project is 50% complete, the core components are coming into place. You have already determined the direction of the project. Feedback at this stage is to adjust how the vision is coming through in the digital design.
When the project is 99% complete, you're adjusting the last details. This includes elements like spacing, spelling, and font choice.
Using the 10/50/99% model helps you avoid frustration about significant changes at the last minute. You can keep the project moving forward more smoothly.
- Embrace Multiple Review Stages
Every graphic design project requires multiple review stages. It can be tiring and time-consuming. However, multiple reviews are essential for developing the best possible design.
Design review tools can streamline the process. You can find platforms that let you compare two versions of the design side by side with comments. All stakeholders can access and comment on the latest version of the project.
- Stay Organized
You can easily get lost in multiple project versions and feedback from different stakeholders. Staying organized is essential.
You can use a platform like Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also use task management software.
Develop an organizational system and maintain it. You can create the system that works best for you. You may want different folders for each project or folders based on tasks, like "needs approval."
Get Approval and Start Production
Following these nine tips will help your graphic design project go more smoothly. You can optimize your processes. You avoid wasting time on misunderstandings.
When the graphic design is finished, you're ready to give the final files to the client or a third party, like a printer. A well-organized, systematic process helps ensure that all stakeholders are happy with the results. You'll be building your client base and your reputation as a graphic designer.
For more practical tips to help boost your career, check out the rest of our articles.