The Graphic Design Process

Problem Solving

The Graphic Design Process

The Benefit of the Graphic Design Process

There are steps in the graphic design process to follow that will help you achieve the best results. Instead of going right into the design when you get a new project, you can save your time and energy by exploring the topic first and understanding what your client needs.
Then, you can start finalizing your content. It starts with simple sketches and brainstorming, followed by several rounds of approvals in design.
If you take the right approach to your graphic design work, you and your customers will be happy with the final product. We will walk through every step of the design process.

Gather Information

Before you start a project, you need to know what your client needs. Gathering as much information as possible is the first step in the graphic design process. When approaching a new job, set up a meeting and ask a series of questions about the purpose of the task.
In addition to the right product for your customer (for example, logo or website), ask questions such as:
  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the message?
  • How many pages is the piece?
  • What are the dimensions?
  • Is there a specific budget?
  • Is there a deadline for completion?
  • Can the client provide examples of designs they like?
  • Is there an existing corporate brand that needs to be matched?
Take detailed notes, which you can refer to throughout the design process.

Create an Outline

Using the information gathered in your meeting, you can create a summary of the project content and goal.
For a website, it includes all the main sections and the content for each one.
Include dimensions and technical specifications for print or web work.
Provide this outline to your customer and ask for any changes. Once you have reached an agreement on how the piece will look and get approval for the project details, you can move on to the next step.
Note: This is the only time you will offer a plan for your client. This includes the cost and duration of the work and any other ‘business’ details. Instead of discussing it here, we focus strictly on the design aspect of the project.

Harness Your Creativity!

The design has to be creative! Before you go into the design (don’t worry, it’s next) take some time to think about creative solutions for the project.
You can use the examples of the client’s favorite work as guides for what they like and dislike, but your goal is to come up with something new and different that will set them apart from others (of course if they don’t listen appropriately).
Ways to get flowing creative juices are as follows:
Brainstorming: Throw any and all ideas together with a team.
Visit a Museum: Inspired by the Originals.
Read a book: Small things like color or shape in a graphic design book can evoke a completely original idea.
Take a walk: Sometimes it’s good to go outside and see the world because you never know what will trigger your imagination.
Draw: Doodle some ideas on a page, even if you are not an “artist”.
Once you’ve got some ideas for the project, it’s time to start building the built-in layout.

Sketches and Wireframes

Before going into a software program like Illustrator or Indesign, it may be helpful to create some simple sketches of the layout of an area. You can show your customer your basic ideas without spending too much time on design.
Find out if you’re going in the right direction by providing quick sketches of logo ideas, line drawings of layouts showing where the elements are placed on the page, or a quick handmade version of the package design. When it comes to web design, wireframes are a great way to get started with your page layouts

Design Multiple Versions

When you knock out the final design in a single shot, it is a good idea to provide your client with at least two versions of a design. This gives them some options and allows you to combine their favorite elements from each one.
You can often agree on how many individual versions are included in a job when writing and negotiating your project. Many options can lead to more unwanted work and overwhelm the client, which can eventually frustrate you. It is best to limit this to two or three unique designs.
Tip: Make sure you have the versions or ideas (including the ones you don’t like) that you choose not to offer at that time. You never know when they might come in handy, and this idea might be useful for future projects.


Let your customer know that you are promoting “blending and matching” the designs you offer. They may like the background color in one design and the font choices in another.
From their recommendations, you can present a second round design. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion on what is best. After all, you are the designer!
After this second round, it is not usual to make two more round changes before reaching the final design.

Stick to the Steps

When following these steps, do not forget to complete each one before moving on to the next one.
If you do solid research, you know you can create an accurate exterior. With an accurate outline, you have the information you need to draw some ideas. With the approval of these ideas, you can go on to create the actual design, which once edited will be your final piece.
A customer asks “Where is the logo?” After the work is already done!

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