So, this is my first blog post I’ve ever written – GRIND MODE!
I’m going to talk about process – there are all sorts of processes – some are morning routines and others are following a cookbook recipe. I’m a graphic designer, and in my day-to-day life, I try my best to follow a design process, which allows me to effectively communicate a message and reach an optimal end result through a series of brainstorming exercises.
Dictionary.com defines a process as this:
- A systematic series of actions directed to some end.
Find the message
The start of my process is to understand what needs to be communicated – good design needs to convey a message. A viewer needs to be lead through a piece and will gain needed information from looking at something that has been well-designed. This information can be a promotion, date of an event, or a phone number – these are all critical tidbits of information that could get lost in a design, if not paid close attention to by the designer. These critical tidbits of information should result in a Call-to-Action (CTA). What is a CTA … This? Wait … not that. YES, THIS! A CTA may be a phone call, visit to a website, downloading an app, or signing up, etc. CTAs don’t always have to be obvious or straightforward, but through different design methods, you ultimately want your message to be communicated and your audience to take action.
Begin the brainstorm
After thoroughly understanding what needs to be communicated, I can then begin to brainstorm the most effective way to get this information across. Questions I may ask are, “Will I convey this through designing a magazine ad, website, direct mail piece, or a t-shirt?,” “What will the style be and is there a brand guide to follow?,” or “Will this be a new campaign?”
All questions need to be answered in the brainstorming process to ultimately lead you to a powerful and effective result. I obtain this result through a series of exercises in my sketchbook. I doodle and create mind-maps with anything that could be connected to the subject at hand. Design Blender explains the process of mind-maps and how they can benefit one’s thought process.
Connect the dots
Once there has been a sufficient amount of time dedicated to brainstorming, I take the loose sketches and mind-maps and begin to connect the dots. “What words could be paired together to create a unique juxtaposition?,” I ask myself. This is where the fun starts. I refine my rough elements and place them into the layout with purpose, which give words and graphics a stage to stand on. Once I start to build a design, I refine, critique as I go, and finally deliver.
When you look at my process, you may realize yours is different – and that’s ok. The most important part is that you should have one! Having no process in place will slow down your work, and most likely, cause you to revise your work, unnecessarily, because you didn’t follow a process from the beginning.