Visual design

Understand the visual design process

Logo & brand design are creatively intensive processes, while producing a marketing item calls for many skills, from document & typographic layout and graphic design to copywriting & editing, and photo research & retouching.

This outline should help to illustrate the creative process, breaking down each step as I work with you to produce your logo, brand identity or marketing item.

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Logo, brand design, and marketing design process concept development

The visual design process typically begins with a phone conversation (or a few emails) about audience, content, and style considerations as well as the medium it's intended for (magazine ad, brochure, etc.).

We'll talk specifics: colors, fonts, photos, graphics, format, and layout. If you have examples of designs (or links to online samples) that appeal to you, these might help to give me a sense of the style and mood you're aiming for.

During this phase I'll also offer suggestions about the copy, choosing photographs and illustrations, and structuring the document.

Once we've nailed down the details I'll produce an initial concept mockup (and sometimes more than one) which I'll email to you for feedback and/or approval (ETA: 2-3 days).

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For logo design and branding I initially produce up to twelve general concepts, and from these I might generate two or sometimes three additional sheets of variations and treatments as we work together to zero in on the right design.

If any corrections or alterations are needed the design mockup would be updated and emailed to you for approval again. It's rare that more than one or two major revisions is needed to finalize the design concept. However, this may sometimes be necessary and the final cost would reflect any additional time spent on concept development, or "tweaking".

It's important to address all of the design & layout issues up front because these can become considerably more difficult to alter later in the process.


Effective copywriting and layout

It's usually best to have the copy completed before any of the design work is started. Copy layout is a time-intensive task, so it's best if the finished content is sent all at once and in its entirety, as this will help to prevent any time crunches late in development.

Ideally, your copy should be organized in the same way that it will be seen in the finished document (ie: Heading 1, paragraphs, heading 2, paragraphs, etc.). I offer copywriting and copy editing services.

The copy can be sent to me in an email or on CD as a Word document or as a simple .txt file. Tabular information can also be sent as an Excel document, PDF, or HTML file.

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If you have photographs or graphics these can be emailed to me. If there are a large number of items, they can be burned to CD/DVD and sent to the address on the invoice estimate.

High resolution photographs and graphics are crucial for producing professional quality printed materials. I'll offer recommendations on these.

The time necessary for completing this phase varies according to media, photo retouching, and copy layout, but it can generally be finished within 1-5 days.


Properly formatting and proofing documents for publishing

When the copy layout is complete I'll send a sample document for you to double-check for any copy errors, typos or graphic/layout issues that might need attention.

Once the document has been verified and approved I'll begin the process of formatting it for the printer.

Unless this is an advertisement for a publication, I can recommend an excellent online printing service. Otherwise, if you plan to use your own print shop I'll need either a link to their format requirements/templates, or the following:

  • Document: dimensions, bleed, trim/crop
  • Color format: 4-color, spot, pantone colors, grayscale
  • Fonts: Outlined, embedded/included
  • File format: PDF, EPS, application-specific

Most printers will provide an online "print proof" of the final document before the print job is started. I will assist with this phase. You may either add me as a CC email contact when the job is submitted to the printer, or you can forward me the email link to the online proof.

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Lastly, bear in mind that I'm a one man show and that coordinating and preparing the information and materials for a visual design project is enormously time-intensive. I must allot time in my development schedule for every project so the deposit I request before I begin is non-refundable. The deposit is also forfeited if for any reason you choose to halt the design process, if circumstances arise in which creative work cannot continue or we mutually agree to stop work, or if development is stalled or is otherwise delayed by you for more than one year from the date the deposit is received.

Final word: I deliver on time and so I ask to be paid on time. The outstanding amount of the project's final cost is due in full within 10 business days of the final invoice date after which a late fee is assessed at 10% of the unpaid balance per week.

I hope this information is useful to you and I look forward to working with you on your creative projects!


Last revised May 12th, 2009.