working with me
So, working with me, this section is just a breakdown of how I like to work to give you an idea of the process that I work to. To be honest I think most designers will work something like this, it seems to me to be pretty standard. Occassionally differing depending on the brief (wrote an article about the design brief, you should read that) but there shouldn’t be any major bits missed out. If you are looking at working with a designer and their working habits don’t incude these stages then I’d beware. One I see missed out quite a lot when work is being down by your run of the mill £20 a logo bollocks ‘studio’ is research. In fact, what these places do is either crowd source on the cheap or pre work some logo concepts that look nice on the surface but soon look dated, or worse still have stock vectors or images that aren’t allowed to be used in logos. Any way, on with the words…
I think it’s important to know about a designers working habits and methods, it’ll give some insight into the work that goes into producing projects. You the client will normally only see a tiny percent of the work involved in your proofs. I generally keep all my concept work, from paper to digital so if you ever feel the need to have a good look through then ask.
I break my design work up into 5 main stages. I think these are pretty basic but essential to good design. These are also pretty much ignored by all those bedroom warriors and off the shelf templated bollocks that I hate so much. Just because it looks good, doesn’t make it right!!
Stage 1 – Research.
After having a consultation (whether it’s a face to face, phone call or a emailed questionnaire) I do what must seem to be the obvious, I look everything up. Every word, colour, image and theme discussed. For the record I don’t just google everything, i’m quite old school, I have a library card, something about reading something published in a book seems to make it more reliable than something on the web. Know what I mean? I also have a good old rummage through my old work, from used concept work to old sketch books from college/university. Sometimes the smallest of thumbnails can spark the greatest of ideas.
Stage 2 – Concept.
Now depending on the brief (sometimes a specific image/font feel is agreed on) this will be straight into digital work, with a montage of imagery and colours with a few choice fonts. Perhaps some Illustator brushes are created here as a feel of a brand starts to form in the mass of colours and brush strokes. Also out at this point are the pencils and pens, yes, I am that old school. The art of drawing to me is an extremely important discipline in this industry. Some disagree and hail the programs and point to their ability to remove the ability to draw as a necessity. I frown upon this, the way I frown upon laptop DJs, I didn’t spend all that time honing my crafts (drawing/vinyl DJ’ing) for some little oik with cash to blow on expensive equipment that does the work for them. I digress, back to the work.
Now at this stage I will have a few mood boards of images, fonts, colours or a mix of all. Time to reintroduce the client either via email or a short car ride…
Stage 3 – Mock ups.
Now it is possible that the mood boards may have some rough ideas for products, but if not this is where these begin. Now chances are a few different images and fonts were highlighted in the meeting/email so again this stage is still in concept. A few versions of products will be created and the theme will start to take shape. Back to the client
Stage 4 – The Finals.
Ok, that seemed a bit quick, but this section will more than likely only get here after revisiting Stage 3 a couple of times. The chosen layouts, images and fonts are put together, the brief is readdressed (does the final outcome cover what was originally asked for? has the idea evolved as the brief has developed? are the required targets being met?). Before progressing to the next stage all images are cleaned, ink/colour settings are finalised. This incorporates having any raster images (photos etc) being optimised for whatever the usage may be, web/print, not all printers use the same methods, and not everyone’s screens work the same. Any out of place lines and bobbles are taken out of vector images, everything gets properly aligned and spaced. All of the little details are taken care of here.
Stage 5 – Production.
Hmm, is that the right title? I’ve thought about it long and hard and it’s the best word I could think that covered a multitude of end possiblities that are here. It could be print, uploading web pages, burning DVDs, cutting/pressing vinyl… you see why I went for production.
Yes this is the point where we both sit back and look at the produced project and think, yes, that’s what ‘I’ wanted (this normally requires constant compromise throughout the process, I’ve left out the bit where we disagree over things and debate in an effort to make the process of working with me seem easy in hope that upon reading this you’ll want to work with me,…).
Now I believe that these stages can be applied to most of the work I do, though if you come to me wanting a logo on a t-shirt, nice and simple, I doubt very much that I’m going to read up on the history of t-shirt making and find a scientific equation for the perfect placement of said logo. No, probably gonna look at what you’ve supplied, redraw (if needs be) and get it on a t-shirt