May - A Month of Process

The month of May has come and gone and my mind is on creative processes and working with new clients. As a professional designer I seek creative web projects and graphic illustration for all media. I love campaigns of all types, logos, banners, ads, email design, illustration and of course the passion projects that come my way. Clients and designers, what do we all share? We continually seek incites into our processes to achieve exceptional work. Overall, I feel project management needs to bond a team and make all deadlines do-able. I share my favorite process (at this writing!) below. It appears to be long, but is actually the short version, so I ask what is your process? Do you seek more project control, or just seek deadline sanity?

Print/Web Process guide
The process below is for print and web. Positive team building, communication and documentation are keys to the process.

Jobs come in and are assigned into the system
The job is acknowledged and discussed with client. Client/designer review brief, then, a kickoff meeting may be scheduled.

- Real, firm due dates (not ASAP) are established for each product stage. Afterwards, the project is backtracked to mark due dates for layouts and the final. Add up to 3 days for safety.
- Client supplies all assets at start.

Print/Web Images
- Buy or create a Photoshop copy of the master image. Clean up and enhance as needed.
- For product images, provide a layered Photoshop file. One layer has the product background knocked out. The second layer has a Photoshop-ed “small” light grey shadow to the left of the product. Usually, this is made with the brush tool, not a Photoshop function.

Proof stages
Consider 3 rounds of layout modifications. One revision, or two for the final. Generate new due dates for new direction, or stalled jobs.

Layout Proofs
- Designer proofs own work first, then a copy is sent to the client. Changes are marked up, discussed with designer then made. Proof is forwarded to client team.
- Client proofs, and then discusses a marked up printout with designer and updates are made. New proof generated etc.

Job Final Proofs
- Designer proofs own work first, then a copy is sent to the client. Changes are marked up, discussed with designer then made. Proof is forwarded to client team.
- Client proofs, and then discusses a marked up printout with designer and updates are made. New proof generated, or job approval.

Final Print products
Final products are checked by client before passing to publisher. Client/designer proofs blue-line, then client/designer attends the press check if needed.

Final Web products.
Web products are passed to client, then loaded to the test site. Link to test site sent to designer for one last check.