For a lot of business owners, working with creatives for the first time can be daunting. Some worry that they won’t be able to adequately explain their requirements and others worry they will lose all creative control. The other big fear is not knowing whether they are getting value for money or not.
We have found over the years that there can be a disparity between the perceived value of the final product and the actual value of the work involved to get to that end point.
This is why it is really important for anyone working with a creative for the first time to understand the process.
As with all projects, a good, clear brief is the essential starting point. It outlines the plans, desires and expected outcomes of the job. A detailed creative brief allows us to quickly understand your business and what your exact requirements are. It also explains to us the message you want to convey and the key points to focus on. Having this information clearly laid out at the beginning of the process allows us to raise any questions and have these answered before work begins. It also allows us to plan out exactly how much time will be required to deliver the project.
Of course not everyone who comes to us has a brief ready to go. Often they need our advice or help to refine exactly what they need. This is something we are always happy to do free of charge.
Once we have been issued with a brief and have received all required assets* to allow us to begin, we get started on the first draft. Developing a first draft is the most time consuming part of any project, be it a logo design or an annual report. This is the phase where we have to do a lot of research, explore different ideas, test fonts and colour schemes, and source suitable imagery. We used our years of experience, and often gut instinct, to make quick calls and narrow down the look and feel as quickly as we possibly can, in order to keep costs down for our clients.
Although it depends of the scope of the project, on average we produce 3 different options for the first draft. This gives our clients a chance to be involved in the process, to review the options and decide which one works best for them. Or, as often occurs, they find a fourth option by combining elements from the 3 options supplied.
When they come back to use with their feedback we begin work on the second draft. The second draft is when we start to finalise some of the aspects of the design and make adjustments to colour, layout etc as per the feedback provided. It is generally a much faster process although if the required changes are substantial then it can take almost as long as the first.
The third draft is a much more streamline process however. Generally, at this stage we are just making small adjustments to text and potentially changing imagery, with the idea of it being the final draft that the client will sign off on. However, there are of course times when a project requires more than 3 drafts. Sometimes the scope changes mid-project. Sometimes there are many groups of people involved that all need to review the drafts at different stages and small changes can continue coming through to us over many revisions. But this rarely pushes up the cost of the job as more often than not the changes are minimal.
Once all changes have been made and the project has been signed off by the client, we prepare the final files. Depending on the project this can mean setting up artwork for print purposes, exporting file types or breaking down elements for web development. Whatever the requirements, for us the project does not end until the final files have been delivered and the client is happy.
*Assets = text, logo, brand elements, photographs, illustrations etc