What is a Graphic Design Development Process?
Previously, I wrote about the value of design in libraries, while others, including Stephen Bell and Aaron Schmidt, have written and presented on the topic of design in libraries. Now I would like to focus specifically on what the graphic design process will be like. For librarians who design regularly, I hope this will help reveal what you are already doing or add a little to your tools and tips. For non-designers, I hope this gives you an insight into a process that is more complex than it appears, and try the design yourself. For some ideas, try one of the best library design projects: signs, webpages, posters, flyers, bookmarks, banners, etc. I have previously written about the value of design in libraries, and others, including Stephen Bell and Aaron Schmidt, have written about design in libraries. Now I would like to focus specifically on what the graphic design process will be like. For librarians who design regularly, I hope this will help reveal what you are already doing or add a little to your tools and tips. For non-designers, I hope this gives you an insight into a process that is more complex than it appears, and try the design yourself. For some ideas, try any of the best library design projects: signs, webpages, posters, flyers, bookmarks, banners, etc.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DESIGN?
People may wonder why design should be a process. The most basic process of design, like many processes, is to solve a problem and then create a solution. Jason Fried, founder and co-author of 37 Signals, recently tweeted, “Your first design may be the best, but you never know until you can find the best one.” To add to this important point he added this image as an explanation from The Intercom blog. It is common for librarians and designers to strive for an elegant or better solution. Librarians often share best practices, and exploring this process may help us in terms of design, but we can also apply these ideas to other areas of the library when creating projects, lighting, marketing, and more.
Design is a process.
Designers work hard to create a successful design, and it is not always easy. Here are some basic steps designers can take during the development phase of their work. Every designer is a little different and not all designers follow the same process. However, this is a good foundation for beginner designers, and once you get the good one, you can combine or modify parts of the process to work for you and the project at hand. Design is subjective and there are some hard and fast rules to follow, however, I will talk more about the design elements and details that will help you create robust designs that your users can talk about in future posts.
The design has constraints.
Before you start stacking things up and jumping into a design, you need to understand what “specifications” or specifications are. These are the details of the final part you need before you start any design. For example, will the piece be printed or is it an online piece? What is the budget? It is black and white, color, how many colors? What size? If printed, on what paper will it be printed? Does the color edge bleed or is there a border? Involved in folding or cutting?
All of these considerations will be the rules you need to follow. But most designers like to think of them as challenges; Many times when specifications are not very controlled they can empower the designer to drive harder to drive more creatively. You do not want to be frustrated if you cannot get the right pitch so invest in a good capo. If you have designed a particular mirror and then tried to modify it to fit all the new glass, it always compromises the strength of the design to work this way. It is good to know the front of the mirror.
Design requires an open mind.
Crazy like a sketch. You may think you have a great, original idea when you get your job or your glasses, but please do yourself a great favor and draw some ideas first. Make at least one page of sketches if not more. Take notes, do some research on the topic, make word associations and mental maps, and draw stick figures and doodles. Keep an open mind to new possibilities. Observe the world around you, daydream, and gather inspiration. You may still be sticking with that first idea, but if you are motivated to think and explore in new ways, chances are you will come up with something even better and generally original.
Design step by step.
Depending on the complexity of the piece, whether it is printed or web, I can do more or less with each step below. If you are designing or redesigning a website, this is a good way to get a powerful, thoughtful design. Of course, you can go back based on the feedback given and the design changes that affect the design elements. If the design structure is strong, the changes should be very small.
BASIC DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PROCESS:
1. Research the topic, take notes, ask questions, doodle, tap ideas, and get young
2. A series of small paintings
This is an extension of Step 1. Do as much as you can Do it until you get sick. Here is a great presentation I found recently on painting.
3. Build the wireframe
Be concise / block in the mix. It may be larger than a thumbnail, but try to keep it detailed.
4. Sketch comps
Take steps 2 and 3 and exit the 3 comps. These should not be final but should follow the mirror and be close to the finish in terms of look and feel for key design elements. You can use the Loram Ipsum text if you wish. This technique helps people not to comment on the content of the design. Of course, there are times when content should be, but use it to your liking, know that this is an option, and may help to progress.
5. Finalize comps A customer is given 3 choices, but if you are your own customer then obviously do your favorite.
TaDa, right? The design is done, let’s celebrate!
Well, not exactly. This process is a phase of a larger process that includes: meeting the customer early, negotiating a contract, delivering your designs, further testing, and usability, working with functional design adjusters, developers, or print houses. It is a process that requires study, skills, schooling, and knowledge like many disciplines. I will talk about more design topics in the future, so I will try the hidden ones here next time. Luckily, I collected some great ones… Well, not exactly. This process is a phase of a larger process that includes: meeting the customer early, negotiating a contract, delivering your designs, further testing, and usability, working with functional design adjusters, developers, or print houses. It is a process that requires study, skills, schooling, and knowledge like many disciplines. I will talk about more design topics in the future, so I will try the hidden ones here next time. Luckily, I collected some great ones
DESIGN RESOURCES TO GET YOU STARTED:
- Non-Designer’s Design Book: One of the best beginner design books out there (overlook the cover- it really is a great book!).
- Smashing Magazine: Really good stuff on this website- including freebies, like decent icons and vector artwork. Covers typography, color, graphic design, etc.
- a list apart: another great site that delves into all kinds of topics but has great stuff on graphic design, UI design, typography, illustrations. etc.
- Fast Company Design: relevant design articles and examples from industry.
- IDEO: design thinking, great high level design examples- check out their portfolio in selected works.
- Thinking With Type: title says it all- learn about the fine art and science of typefaces. You will never look at design and type the same way again.
- Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works: another must on typography
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: seriously. even if you think you can’t draw. try it. anyone can draw, truly. Drawing helps you think in new and creative ways- it will help you be more creative and help in problem solving anything. Even those small doodles are valuable.