Often, small business clients (usually start-ups) will have a project they would like completed (usually A.S.A.P.) that requires some graphic design / communications expertise. For example, “I need a thousand brochures for this Friday,” or “Can you make me a web site?”
Before beginning, a designer will need certain things: content for the project (images and text), as well as brand identity elements and some style guidelines. It is these latter elements where entrepreneurs often fall short. The brand is the horse that pulls the carriage – the rest of your business. We don’t want to put that carriage in front of the horse.
Brand identity design needs to be completed before other design projects. This ensures quality communication and maximum consistency amongst the various media – like business cards, brochures, web sites, etc. Brand identity includes things like the logo, standard colours, standard typography, standard imagery use, all packaged in style guide to delineate these standards.
But before a designer gets to work on the brand’s identity, the client needs to have a good handle on the brand’s strategy – the marketing goals, the brand personality, the target market, the competitive positioning of the brand – and be able to communicate it clearly to the designer. Clearly a lot of consultation is required.
So, in general terms, the sequence is as follows:
Other communication and promotion projects where the identity is applied consistently.
We’ve decided to publish a useful, quick design tip on Tuesdays – something easy to incorporate into your life and make the world work a little better.
For anything you work on, check everything before putting it out there. If your tools are giving you trouble, track down the answer or someone who can help.
In this example, we have a Real Estate publication (I blurred out its name) that went to press with a thin blue line (or stroke) around the text frame of its headline. I’m sure this was unintentional – This is one of the most common situations I have to troubleshoot in the classroom among novice page layout students. The students almost always catch this and aren’t sure how to fix it.
But here, it was not caught or corrected by the designer, editor or printer. Sweat the details. Of course the irony would not be lost on me if I messed up something in this post…