Throughout this course, you’ve learned the fundamentals of graphic design. We’ve covered how to organize the layout and compose a graphic design project, choosing the typography for your project, and working with different color schemes to convey the right message. Now, we’ll discuss how to combine those skills to successfully complete your first graphic design project.
Before beginning any graphic design project, you will need to determine the goals of the project. Goals can include anything from attracting social media followers to providing information on a new neighborhood watch group. Discuss the goals of the project with the client, or if it’s a personal project, think about what you would like to achieve from this project.
Meeting with clients is something you will do often as a graphic designer. Knowing the best way to get the information you need is important. Create a worksheet for each project that you will be working on. This worksheet should include some basic questions about the project that the client will answer. A basic worksheet would include the following:
- Who is the target audience for this project?
- What is this project about?
- When should this project be completed?
- Where is the project going to be viewed?
- Why does the client need this project?
- How should you deliver the finished project?
These are basic questions you will need answers to before beginning any design project. Let’s explore each question in more detail.
1. Who Is The Target Audience For This Project?
Knowing your target audience is important for deterring the overall look and presentation of your design. From the lesson on color theory, we know that each color effects the brain differently and certain color schemes and combinations appeal to certain audiences. For instance, pastels are used for a more youthful or happy audience. The typography and layout will also be chosen based on the audience.
2. What Is This Project About?
It’s impossible to create an effective and compelling design when you have no idea what you’re designing for. Firstly, what is the project? Is is a banner? Poster? Album Cover? T-shirt? This may sound trivial, but many designers forget to ask what medium they’re designing for. A designer for a magazine cover wouldn’t translate very well to something like a small ballpoint pen. Secondly, what is the theme of this project? What is the primary focus of the design included in the is project? Is it a social topic? A person? An animal? A character from a story? An object? Create your design based on what the overall project is about.
3. When Should The Project Be Completed?
Timelines are crucial when working on a project. One of the most important factors when choosing a design or even accepting a project in the first place is determined by the project’s due date. Before accepting any project, ask when the project is due, and insure that you can have the project completed in that amount of time. Make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to make corrections and revisions to the project. Punctuality is very important for establishing yourself as a trustworthy, professional designer. Time is money. A client may lose a large sum of money if you don’t deliver the project timely.
Have clear guidelines for milestones you should be reaching. Provide a timesheet to your client with the amount of hours spent on a project and your pay rate.
4. Where Is The Project Going To Be Viewed?
You will choose the dimensions of your project based on the viewing location. Most applications used for graphic design include templates for common web and print project sizes. Templates for standard paper, tabloids, flyers, posters, business cards, brochures, greeting cards, social media posts, book covers and clothing can be found in many applications or by searching online. You should create different designs for projects that contain different dimensions. This is especially important for printed materials. Most professional printing shops have media specifications that most be met in order to print a file correctly. A portion of the design may be cropped off in the print process; resulting in a completely unusable project.
5. Why Does The Client Need This Project?
As the designer, it’s your responsibility to understand the needs of the client and the needs of the project. What is the purpose of this project? Is it to advertise a new business? Bring awareness about a social topic? Provide information to a specific group of people? Also, what problem will the project solve? Is your client attempting to rebrand their business? Are they falling behind on social media? You have to know what problem you’re solving before you can offer a solution.
6. How Should You Deliver The Finished Project?
You’ve completed the project. Now, how will the client receive the finished project? The file size of the project will determine your options for delivering it to the client. For smaller files, email is a simple and fast option. For larger files, you’ll need to either hand deliver the files on a flash drive or memory card, send the drive via postal mail or share the files via a file sharing website like DropBox. You will also need to plan on how you will deliver the intermediate files to your client. These are the mockups, sketches and designs that might need approval from your client throughout the process of completing the project. Finally, you’ll want to discuss the best methods for communicating about the project. Does your client prefer email? Phone calls? In person meetings? You’ll also want to provide your client with the hours and days you expect to be working on their project and the best times to contact you about the project.
This completes our course on An Introduction To Graphic Design. Congratulations on the completing the course! You’re now ready to start working on your first design project!