The 6-Step Guide to Make Your Graphic Design Process Efficient

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Having an efficient graphic design process allows your designers to focus on their job, reduces the possibility of mistakes, minimizes lengthy back-and-forth emails between the graphic design team, and makes sure the company works like a well-oiled machine—all of which could ultimately result in an overall better organization and brand. If you need to optimize your company’s design process, follow these 6 steps:

1. Be Comprehensive With Your Creative Brief

Every design project should start with a creative brief, as this document outlines the nature of the project, its goals, and what is necessary to accomplish these objectives.

This document has to cover all relevant details so your graphic designers can refer to it whenever they might have any basic questions. Some of the most important information to have in a creative brief include:

  • Company profile
  • Project specifications
  • Brand guidelines
  • Target demographic
  • Budget
  • Deadlines
  • Samples of what clients want

Discuss the finalized brief with the decision-makers, whether this is a client or the heads of your company, to ensure everything is correct and everyone agrees on the project’s boundaries.

2. Know How to Organize Your Team

How you organize your team is going to make or break an efficient design process. Below, we break down the different types of design team organization and what to expect from each:

  • Centralized Design Team — You have one design team within the company, getting design requests from all other departments. While effective, the issue often arises with each design team member specializing in one field (e.g. social media design, email design). In this setup, the design team can either be overwhelmed with the amount of work pouring in from other departments, or they will have days where they won’t have any work to do. 
  • Cross-functional Design Team — You have at least one designer under each department. This works if you hire a very talented designer who has a wide range of skill set (e.g. illustration, email, animation, etc). Realistically speaking, however, this can be unstable when design requirements change, which means you might need to outsource certain projects that end up costing you more.
  • Flexible Design Team — You work with people outside the company (e.g. freelancers, agencies, on-demand design services like Design Force). This is the setup that makes more sense if you want to keep your costs down but still produce high-quality deliverables within a given timeframe. You won’t have to worry about managing multiple designers at the same time or finding multidisciplinary designers which might cost you even more. The benefit of tapping external resources, especially when they offer on-demand services, is that you’ll get a dedicated creative team that you can scale up or down depending on your needs. Project management and creative direction also often come with the packages these external resources offer. 

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3. Break Down Tasks with Timelines and Requirements

As talented as your design team may be, you can’t expect them to simply execute without a proper gameplan. Structure the actual design stage of the process by breaking down big picture goals into distinct actionable steps. 

Write down the people in charge of specific tasks with a corresponding timeline of deliverables and the things they need to complete within the given periods. If you don’t have one yet, there are several project management tools that you can use for easier delegation and accountability. 

4. Develop Variations for Your Design

There’s a chance your client or company head won’t like what you’ll present, and then ask that you come up with something new. Save yourself the trouble of having to start from scratch by developing an alternative or two for your final design. 

Presenting key stakeholders options also gives you more insight into what you can tweak with your current design. Even if they don’t say yes to any of your variations, you’ll know where their preferences lean; you can then iterate towards that. 

5. Implement The 10/50/99 Feedback 

Provide space for feedback throughout the entire process instead of dumping it all at the end when there’s a bigger risk of making drastic changes that would waste a lot of time, effort, and resources. Give feedback at the most crucial moments, which are at 10%, 50%, and 99% of the way through the design process:

  • 10% — Guarantee the foundation is firmly set and you have a clear vision
  • 50% — Align current progress with the original vision
  • 99% — Make minor adjustments and correct small mistakes

6. Anticipate Key Concerns

When it’s time to deliver your design project to the client and/or the higher-ups, you have to be prepared to address the issues they might bring up. 

Think of the questions they are most likely to ask about the design. If you believe in the work you and your designers have done, you should be able to answer their concerns with confidence.

Preparation is Paramount for Design Process Efficiency

Improving your graphic design process comes down to planning and knowing what to anticipate. From how much information you gather to how often you give feedback, a streamlined process needs to be in place so your deliverables will be created on time while still maintaining their quality.

Simplify your design process even further with a flexible solution like Design Force. We bring world-class designers who can seamlessly integrate into your existing design team and manage the work overflow, especially during peak periods. Let us walk you through the Design Force process and show how you can scale your design team fast. 

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