Understanding the design process is essential in being able to value the work undertaken. The taboo around the design process is often responsible for a lot of price questioning and this is fair – how can you value something without understanding where the value comes from?

In previous articles we have discussed what makes a good logo design, as well as what makes a brand valuable. Today the focus is on the specific technical processes involved in any design, good or bad.

RESEARCH & CONCEPT

The time requires for this phase largely depends on the design being created and the level of care required – an international company’s rebranding can take months of research and concept pitching whereas research for a simple flyer design can take only an hour.

The research phase involves looking at competition resources, themed references as well as sketching and developing ideas. Depending on the design being created, it can involve multiple rounds of pitching until a basic direction is found. Good design involves market research and strategic choices that have to be discussed with the client and developed.

CONCEPT DESIGN

Once the basic direction is found, a number of drafts are created and presented to the client for revisions. Depending on the agreement with the client, a number of drafts can be presented for the client to choose and review. During this phase the client usually provides a lot of input, providing direction and assets like copy and images.

Different designs can required more or less time in their technical application. A sketch to vector design can take long hours from carefully sketching the concept to tracing it on screen as a vector and refining it.

REVIEW

After the first drafts have been provided and reviewed by the client, designers refine the chosen concepts by making the adjustments required by the client. These are submitted for a second review and the same scenario is repeated until the client is satisfied with the final result.

FINAL FILES

Now that the client has given the final say – files have to be prepared for submission. Between digital and print and depending on the design resource, a few steps may be required at this stage:

• Saving files in high-resolution or web resolution
• Allowing “bleed” for printing
• Preparing files for special cuts or finishes at printing
• Outlining text for printing
• Checking RGB or CMYK specifications
• Checking spelling and details

PRINTING COORDINATION

Depending on the service provided by your designer you may or may not have them organize the printing of your designs – if so, these are the tasks performed by your designer:

• Request for quotes
• Request for samples
• Preparation of files using printer specifications
• Checking proofs
• Scheduling printing
• Organising courier to deliver items to you

Web design also has it’s own specific processes that we will talk about in separate posts. While web design is duly recognized as a technical trade, graphic design is often questioned as to its true value and I hope this post helps in answering some questions.

It takes an experienced professional to deliver all of the above seamlessely and on time. Not only that, but choosing a professional service, as with anything else, will save you time to focus on your business and what you do best.