My personal approach to design
Design is problem solving. I strive to present my clients’ messages in a modern, visually beautiful, and eye-catching manner, but what I design also needs to do its job. A masterpiece in contemporary style and technique my be beautiful, but isn’t necessarily appropriate for selling shoes or getting your client to sign up for a mobile game. Form follows function.
5 key steps
Step 1: We need to talk –
At the beginning of any project, especially with a new client, I need to know what your project (and you) is all about. Introductions and a brief conversation either in person or via skype or phone are the mandatory first step. It’s critical at this point that I understand the design “problem” you have in order to recommend the right solution. If your firm is based in Berlin, I would love to come by and meet you in person. Once we’ve agreed on the scope and pricing of my services and deliverables, I will send you a simple contract which we will both sign, along with an invoice for a security deposit of 50%. (Returning clients and clients who have been referred by my returning clients need not pay anything up front)
Step 2: Research, Brainstorming, and Sketching – This is the time I will take before opening any graphic design software in order to understand your firm’s ecosystem, begin brainstorming solutions, and most importantly, sketching. I am a big believer in drawing out ideas by hand, as it is a much less limited way to explore ideas compared to using software. Many junior designers fall into the trap of relying solely on the few functions in Photoshop or Illustrator that they’ve learned, only to face plant when it comes to the master concept. Especially when it comes to branding, I believe that the best designs begin organically, and cannot simply be “assembled” on a computer. When it comes to user interface, sketching of wireframes by hand and discussing user stories is crucial.
Step 3: Building Designs – Depending on the type of project we are working on, I will start this step on my own, or after another discussion and go-ahead from you (for example, I would get your “ok” on mobile app wireframes before spending large amounts of time on pixel-perfect mockups). This is when I start to work with design software.
Step 4: Presenting and Refining – This is where we begin our rounds of feedback and iteration, cycling back through step 3 (and sometimes 2) until you are happy with the result. If working on a series of designs, for example, a set of banner advertisements, I will often complete this step on just one item in the series first, in order to be more efficient.
Step 5: Design Handover and Production – Once you are satisfied with my design work, I will prepare all agreed-upon deliverables (source files, renderings, orders for printed materials, etc) after final receipt of payment. Finally, I will also write and sign a legal document handing over the intellectual property rights to the designs and files.