Since I usually only receive graphic design requests from clients, I often try to establish a structure as to how I determine the parameters for a project. That often incorporates the following:
Determine the value proposition
I generally determine the value proposition for a work with the client through interview. The question we seek to answer is, “What is the offer?”
Take a brief
I request specs from the client pertaining to their likes, dislikes, influences, preferences, etc. The brief is the benchmark by which decisions are made regarding the project, so that later on it might be referred to as the outline to the visual story we’re trying to tell. It’s pretty important, and fairly detailed. The client must greenlight this aspect of the project before any work is done.
Develop a moodboard
I like to test the strength of the brief by building quick mood board that relates the various aesthetic impressions of the project to ensure accuracy of the deliverables: these involve colours, type styles, photo snippets — anything visual that conveys the spirit of the work as it will be executed. Here, adjustments can be made so that if a client has neglected to mention that they cannot use sunshine yellow as a colour (for example, because their competition uses it with abundance and they don’t want their customers to mistake them), we won’t move forwards into design exploration with those things unaccounted for.
Perform design explorations
Usually, I will produce and refine mockups during this phase based on a set number of revisions agreed upon with the client and to their satisfaction. With client approval, we determine the best possible design solution for the project, and I will move the work into finalization where the art is prepared for deployment (i.e. print, ad submission, press release, social media sharing, etc.)
Perform final checks
I make sure that every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted: all art is prepared for final deployment, the client signs off, and we’re off to the races! If there are quality assurance checks stipulated in the agreement, those are performed as soon as final art is returned by the third party supplier (like, for example, a print run of brochures to ensure that colours are accurate and nothing is mis-aligned.)