Design is hard. The software is confusing, the details are intricate and the research is extensive.
Designing graphics that serve a purpose is even harder. Designing for your business is more than creating something beautiful. It's about creating something functional.
Your icons should direct and inform. Your blog post graphics should entice and excite your audience. Your logo should communicate your overall message and who you serve.
Whether you’re a self-taught designer or you’re a business owner faced with the task of designing graphics for their brand and website, you can absolutely create beautiful, functional designs.
This blog post is giving you the road map to designing graphics that work for your business.
1 | Determine your goal
No matter what type of design project you are working on you should determine a goal. Are you trying to promote a business, build a brand, share knowledge... etc. Before you ever look at a piece of paper or open up Adobe Illustrator you need to know the end goal.
2 | Research the target market
A target market is the group of people your product, service or design is aimed towards. In order to communicate with them effectively you'll need to understand their demographics and psychographics. The demographics are the measurable traits: age, income and location. The psychographics are the immeasurable traits: hobbies, interests and values.
3 | Get inspired
After you've got a good understanding of your target market, it's time to get inspired. I suggest Pinterest as your design inspiration source. They platform offers high-quality images that you can add to a secret board (not visible to your followers) so you can work on your project without giving anything away.
4 | Sketch... A lot
Before you ever open your design software you want to open up a sketch pad. This doesn't need to be anything fancy, a spiral notebook will work just fine. You just need a place to freely jot down your ideas and inspiration. This phase shouldn't include any editing. Just getting all your ideas down on paper. Even when you think you're out of ideas, force yourself to sketch 15 more. You'll be surprised at the associations your brain will create when you push it a little past it's comfort zone.
5 | Revise and Criticize
Once you've sketched all your ideas it's time to open up Adobe Illustrator. Choose a few of your favorite sketches and see how they form as you try to bring them to life. Consistently revise your vision to ensure your creating the best possible design.
Invite friends, family and colleagues to offer critiques. Someone who doesn't understand the project or goal can give you more information about the perception of the work. Plus, fresh eyes are able to communicate hidden messages you may have missed.
6 | Publish and test
Finally, publish the work.
Sooner or later you have to jump in the deep end and hope you can swim. After your design is live, feel free to test how people are responding. If it's different than your desired effect, you can always go back to the drawing board. Design can always be improved so don't lose yourself in perfection. The most effective designs are published designs.
What steps do you include in your design process? Share them in the comments below!