Every creative entrepreneur, designer or artist has a creative process.
I had friends in college who would only design at night or did their best brainstorming in a group of people. Everyone's process looks a little different. I like to start with sketching before I move to Adobe Illustrator. I will also never make an opinion of a design until I've sat with it for a day. I feel like it gives me perspective.
A part of working as a creative entrepreneur is learning how to mesh your creative process into a streamlined client experience.
Today, I'm going to give you a look inside my process. How I serve my clients, stick to deadlines and ensure a successful brand experience.
Step 1 | In-depth questionnaires
With each brand package I include an in-depth questionnaire. Depending on the design package you may have one+ questionnaire to complete. For example, if you selected the brand essentials package, I wouldn't give you a Squarespace questionnaire since we wouldn't be creating your website together.
Most designers include a questionnaire in their design packages to ensure a smooth-running process. This allows you to gather information prior to the start date to reference throughout the process. It also helps streamline your process to avoid surprising clients with questions they weren't prepared to answer, which can delay timelines.
However, this step also benefits the client. These questionnaires give the clients an opportunity to critically think about their goals, desired outcomes and marketing plan. It can help them slow down the excitement and get practical with execution.
Step 2 | Pinterest Collaboration
For each design package I include Pinterest collaboration. This consists of teaching best pinning techniques for Pinterest inspiration. For example, I suggest to all of my clients that they shouldn't pin specific brands, logos or website design. We want to keep the inspiration board vague to ensure we aren't copying or stealing ideas.
Step 3 | Inspiration board and design proposal
After working together in Pinterest to hone in on a brand style I create an inspiration board. During this process I try to showcase an overall brand aesthetic. The goal is to look at the inspiration board and understand the goals for the brand design. During this process I may also complete a design proposal.
A design proposal is a drafted document that explain what I intend to do during the design process. It also explains my reasoning behind these designs. One of my goals with my design services is to educate my clients on basic design principles. If I am being pulled towards a specific font family, I will explain why I feel that font is the best choice for their brand. This gives my clients education and builds trust in my decision making.
Step 4 | Rough drafts
Once my client has approved the inspiration board and design proposal I will begin creating rough drafts. To begin this process I focus on just sketching out ideas and concepts. This gives me the freedom to quickly pump out content without worrying about perfecting the draft. It also lets me see the designs in a different light. I'm able to play more freely with a pen and paper than I am with a mouse and computer.
After I've found a few ideas that I like, I open up Adobe Illustrator and start bringing them to life. During this process I don't perfect anything, just showcase general ideas and inspirations. This is where my client will pick one direction for us to move forward.
Step 5 | Revisions
With each client I allow three rounds of revisions. This allows me to maintain control of time line efficiently. It also forces my clients to look at each round carefully before sending me an email with changes. I request my clients take their time during the revision process to gather all ideas and changes before emailing me. This way I can open up Adobe Illustrator and complete them all at once.
This also gives my clients the time to sit with an idea. This takes the pressure off of them having to make a quick decision about the design.
Step 6 | Final drafts
When revisions are complete, I begin perfecting the final drafts. This includes perfecting the documents, ensuring all files are formatted appropriately and prepare the files for delivery. With each design element the client receives multiple formats to ensure easy use after we are done.
During the delivery of all files, I also provide each client with helpful links to resources to ensure some of their most basic questions can easily by answered through Squarespace's helpful forum and guides.
What does your creative process look like? Let me know in the comments