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Whenever you start a project, you should have a good idea/understanding of what you will do. Things like research, strategy, checkups, changes, and everything else that come along when dealing with clients. Most designers have a certain path that they take for every single project. For those who don’t, we made a great design process guide to help. You can follow this route for almost every type of design project. So if you’re a designer that needs navigation, this blueprint should definitely help!

1. Project Initiation

– Client identifies needs or goals

– Client develops preliminary budget

– Client and designer meet for preliminary discussions and portfolio review (face to face meeting or use of social media out-lets such as Skype is an alternative if client and designer are unable to meet face to face)

– Designer typically requests deposit payment on the project

2. Orientation Research

– Client provides any relevant background information and materials

– Designer leads client through creative briefing

– Designer commence research (as needed) regarding:

  • Competitive landscape
  • Market research
  • Design research

– Client confirms the media in which the  designer will be producing for (web,print, etc) and confirms any technical parameters (for example website dimensions, color schemes, width and height for print materials

– Client and designer confirm needs assessment

3. Strategy

– Designer analyzes the research and information gathered

– Designer develops design and functionality criteria

– Designer develops a strategy for a design

– Designer presents all of the above for client input or approval

4. Exploration/Development

– Based on client approved strategy, designer develops preliminary design concepts

– Designers methodology of generating concepts vary but below are a few that I use:

  • Mind Mapping
  • Story Boarding
  • Free writing
  • Layout creation

– Client provides insights and initial validation of the concept direction to make sure project stated objectives and goals are being met

– Typically in the exploration step I develop several alternative concepts that will be narrowed down to a couple ideas for further development

– Based on the approved concept (within exploration step) designer develops the design concepts

– Further iterations of the concepts will be provided as tighter representations of the design:

  • Comprehensive layouts
  • Page spread

– Typically in the development step the client picks one design to be refined the designer

5. Refinement

– Designer makes minor modifications which includes minimal changes on aesthetic elements and client request

– Designer presents the above for discussion and approval

– Designer initiates preproduction meeting with team members and 3 party facilities if needed which include:

  • Printer
  • Manufacturer
  • Photographer

6. Production/Launch

– With an approved design the designer begins implementation of the design axross all the required deliverables. For my services it would include:

  • Print: finished art, camera ready art
  • Web: all content delivered, finished graphic elements and photos, detailed flowchart

– Depending on the project and delivery media, the production materials are often handed to a third party which includes:

  • Pre-press/Printer
  • Media outlet
  • Launched on web
  • Designer or client will be engaged In the supervision or management of the above suppliers

7. Project Completion

– Designer and client have a project debriefing to review project outcome

– Designer writes up a case study

– Designer closes invoices project

– Client pays design

What process do you follow when designing for a client? Please share your thoughts

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Posted by Isaiahfrazier1

Isaiah Frazier is a freelance Brand Identity Designer that creates websites, logos and creative campaigns for companies of all sizes. Check out his online portfolio


  1. very good breakdown of steps to follow. thanks for putting it together

  2. Nice article but the stock photography made me laugh 😀

  3. Nice article. Jacob is right, the pictures are humorous :D.

  4. Very good article.Thanks for putting it together

  5. A good payment gateway integration allows your company to offer your customers a good experience in making the payment with confidence by using credit card, debit card, electronic check and allow them to buy products from all over the world.

  6. It is always time consuming process to send invoices manually. However, since the inception of online invoicing applications, you can send invoices to your clients within seconds and this helps you saving most of your time and utilizing that time to increase your business productivity.

  7. highly informative! thanks a mil’!

  8. Well, we all know that how an innovative application with good web design is very much in demand for representing the core purposes and ideas of a company.

  9. You make it seem so easy — simplicity at it’s best. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Being in this field of Graphic Design, I completely agree with you on these above listed points but I think having a strong strategy is one of the most important aspect.

    However, thanks for compiling all these points.

  11. I agree on all the points list above which all freelance designers should follow.

  12. Amazing die-cut business cards to inspire you in designing your own!

  13. awesome collection

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