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‘How long do you need to design my brochure’ is the sort of question I’m often asked. More often than not, the answer is actually in the hands of the client. To make the design process run smoothly and efficiently, here is a checklist to help you get everything in order before you start the graphic design stopwatch:
1. You will probably start the design process with a meeting or telephone conversation to brief your designer on what you are hoping to see and achieve with the design. To make sure, everyone is singing from the same song sheet, follow up the conversation by outlining your brief in an email. It will save time if you also include your logo and details about your brand i.e. fonts, colours and style.
2. Before sending your copy to your designer make sure you have proofread it thoroughly so as to weed out confusing sentences and errors. If you have a group of colleagues who will want to have input in the final text, or you would just like a second opinion from a friend, ask them to read the text before you send it to your designer. Investing your time at this early stage means that when your designer places the text and balances it with images, pulled quotes and white space they won’t have to rebalance everything again at a later date because of major text changes. It’s surprising how the addition of just one new sentence can unbalance a page and take extra design time to make it re-flow.
3. Be selective about your images and only send over high resolution photos that you are happy to see included in the design. Give your designer a helping hand by clearly labeling your image files. JackSpratt.jpg is far more helpful than 123456.jpg and will save the designer from having to email back and ask who is who in the portraits.
4. Save text for the different parts of the brochure as logically named Word documents. Also save text as unformatted Word documents. If you used any other document type (i.e. saved as a PDF) it may mean the end of each line is marked with a paragraph return, which the designer will then have to spend time removing throughout the text to allow the text to flow normally - not a problem on an A5 flyer but more time consuming on a 48-page brochure!
That’s the preparation, but what about when the design process starts? It is always a good idea to give your designer a clear date for when you require the artwork to be signed off if you are placing the print yourself, or if your designer is managing the print as part of the project ask them how long the printer will need the job in house. That way you can work back from print delivery and give all parts of the process enough time to be completed.
If you do have a short time, say a week, for the designer to turn the design and artwork around, the best practice is to respond quickly to proofs as they are sent to you. The faster you progress your approval the faster the design can be signed off and sent to print!
One final tip, if you have an event organised, say you've booked valuable exhibition space, don’t leave producing your marketing material to the week before the show. It will be an expensive mistake not to dress your stand with good design and marketing materials because you didn’t plan at least a month ahead!
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