Just as there are systematic steps in starting a business, construction, school or movie projects, there are also ladders to start a graphic design project. Applying correct procedures in starting any project will benefit both the client and the service provider in terms of time, money and energy. If both client and graphic designer will follow these steps carefully, the project will run smoothly and efficiently.
Here are the steps to achieve a successful graphic design project:
1. Determine & analyze your target audience
“Your film is not for everyone but it is for someone.” This quote is not only true to the film industry but to graphic design project as well. Target audience is defined as “particular group of people, identified as the intended recipient of an advertisement or message – a target audience can be people of a certain age, gender, marital status, lifestyle, etc. Effective marketing is partly the result of the discovery of your target audience.
You can identify your target audience by answering the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of your target audience?
- What is the age, gender, income, location, ethnicity, education or occupation?
- What is their attraction?
- Is there an adequate size and growth potential?
- What about your competitors? How did they enter into the market, where are they effective, what is their reach?
- What are market and industry trends?
Knowing your audience is important because it affects all your communications whether it is on web, print, and media. If you know your target audience you can focus your message, get their attention and win them.
2. Create your message
An extensive research shows that an effective and competitive graphic design message must answer these questions:
- Who Are You? Through your graphic designs, questions about your company must be immediately answered.
- What Are You Selling? You have to creatively showcase the products or services that your company offers.
- Why Would I Want to Buy It? Your message must most importantly answer this question:
“What’s in it for me?” Does your product have a feature or benefit that is superior to others in the market? Is it better, faster, cheaper or the next industry standard?
3. Set-up the Specification of the project
The client may already have an idea of specifications for a design; but if he doesn’t have one, then you can make recommendations. Specifications for a graphic design include the following:
- Number of pages
- Black and white vs. 2-color vs. 4-color printing
- Paper stock
- Size of print run (the number of pieces to print)
4. Calculate the budget
Most clients have no idea or wouldn’t reveal their budget for a project. Whatever reasons they have, it is wise and safe to ask by telling them politely that knowing their budget will help you determine the parameters (such as timeframe, the amount of design options) you will provide and final cost of the project. In the end, both you and the client should be able to make a comfortable budget range that is fair to both parties without sacrificing the quality of the project.
5. Discuss the Requirements of the Client
Getting at least a little creative direction from the client would be helpful. Ask if there are any designs, design elements or other cues they can give you, such as color scheme, typefaces, logos or other elements that need to be incorporated into your design. Larger clients will often have a style sheet you can follow, while others may just show you some existing designs. Of course, you will be creating something new and unique for them, but some ideas will help you get started.
6. Determine the Delivery Date of the Project?
Find out if the project needs to be done by a specific date. The project may coincide with a product launch or an important event for the company. If no deadline is required, you may create a timeframe for completing the project and present it to the client. This, much like your estimate, can be done after the meeting. If there is a deadline and you feel it is unreasonable, it is common to charge a rush-fee. All of these variables should be discussed prior to the start of the work, so everyone involved is on the same page and there are no surprises.
While following each steps of the graphic design project, be sure to take note of all the needed information such as your target audience, message, project specifications, budget, client requirements, and due date of the project. All these information must be specified in your project proposal. When your project proposal is approved and the contract is signed, then you begin your graphic design process.
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Article By Giessel Razavi