Photo Courtesy of Better Than Stock.
As a graphic designer, I’d love for you to believe that I’m magic. That ideas jump from my brain and onto the screen with the greatest of ease, and everything I create is practically perfect on the very first try. But honestly, it’s more of a process. There are highs, there are lows. I laugh, I cry. One thing is certain though: this process eventually ends up with a very happy client and a monstrously proud designer.
So sit back as I pull back the curtain on MY creative process. (There’s no right or wrong way to do creativity, so I can’t speak for everyone. This is just what gets my juices flowin’.)
Stage One: Getting to Know You
One of the things I value most in design is authenticity. I work very hard to communicate the values and vibe of the business I’m creating for, and in order to do that, we need to get better acquainted! At Business Betties, we provide our clients with an extensive questionnaire, which usually puts their gears in motion; thinking about things they’ve probably never even considered. Once they’ve completed this intense, soul searching journey on their own, we get together for a conversation. There are so many meaningful ideas that can come up during a consultation that only needed a little prodding, and maybe a few leading questions to bring out. It’s in these moments that we strike creative gold.
Stage Two: Reconnaissance
Chances are, I probably don’t know a whole lot about your particular field of expertise. In order to really grasp the concepts that go hand in hand with your business, I sit down for a little Google sesh. While I’m at it, I’ll be hunting down other businesses in your genre. I’ll be on the lookout for overused themes and cliches, so I can avoid them like the plague. (Badump-tshh.) You want to stand out, not fit in.
Stage Three: Ideation
This is where it gets down and dirty. I stretch my MacBook’s memory capacity to the limit while I have three Adobe products running simultaneously. It involves spending an hour or more sifting through fonts that to most people probably all look the same. I dig through stock photography websites, creating a library of images that are “just right” for your project. I mix various shades of RGB and CMYK, creating a custom color palette sure to give your customers the feels. I doodle, I create concepts, trash them, and then create more. The client never sees 75% of the work I’ve done on their project. It’s the struggle we designers bear. (Don’t feel bad for us, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.)
Stage Four: Feedback
It might be my work, but ultimately it comes down to you, the client, and whether or not you’re feeling it. As I designer, I do my best to translate your message, along with the ideas and desires you’ve communicated with me, into a visual form. I always expect to make revisions after showing a client first concepts. I’m honestly surprised when I get it spot on on the first go. (Not that I’m not good. But I’m also not a mind reader.) So as a client, don’t be surprised when you get your first set of design concepts and there are things you instantly want to change. It’s all part of the process. Your feedback at this stage of the game is important, because it’s what I use to refine the original design into the ultimate final product.
Stage Five: Final Product
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Your design has been created and nurtured into it’s final, gorgeous, eye-catching state. It’s been presented to you, and you just can’t wait to show it off. As the designer, I’ll be standing back, like a proud parent, watching their child walk off to kindergarten for the first time.
So why share this intimate look into my creative process with you? Because I believe that it’s much easier to face a challenge when you know what’s coming. If you’ve been putting off working with a designer because you aren’t sure what to expect, I hope this took away a bit of your anxiety and gives you the courage to take the next step in building a successful business and a beautiful brand.
Allison Biggs is a graphic designer and co-founder of Business Betties. Along with her business partner, photographer Suzanne Larocque, she works with women entrepreneurs across the country to develop their own unique and authentic brand. Their latest adventure is Better Than Stock, a monthly subscription service providing natural, authentic, relatable photography perfect for bloggers, social media mavens, and content creators.
In addition to being a Betty, Allison is also a coffee snob, the queen of cardigans, font fanatic, color enthusiast, cat lady in training, and total design dork.