Tuesday August 30th, 2016

Great Design Takes Time

Most initial creative meetings will inevitably land on this one question, “how much time will this take?” The answer, more often than not, will be too much. The response to this question comes down to the client's perceived value of the project that drives the budget or a very tight turnaround time to meet the client’s deadline.

There’s nothing formulaic about how a designer arrives at an aesthetically great, but commercially viable design. A seasoned designer will be able to pull from his or her breadth of experience having met similar challenges but every project is unique. There’s no software or technology that can short cut the creative process of ideating a great visual concept.

Designers need “time” to do great creative work but the reality in most cases is that there isn’t enough time. So, if “time” becomes a bogeyman that might impede the development of the best creative solution to successfully meet the business objectives and budget, what can a client do to help?

  1. Be clear about the scope of the project from the beginning. Provide a detailed creative brief can to ensure the design team is clear about the scope, budget, and timing for the project. Scope creep will add unplanned time that inevitably leads to budget overages. When there’s an extremely tight deadline looming, the expansion of project deliverables will leave little time or budget for the designers to do their best work.
  2. Have the content as close to being final as possible before beginning the design phase. Great design solutions are built on the foundation of the actual content. Telling the design team you want to see some creative before the content is planned out or ready increases the likelihood that the design will need to be rethought or reworked when the final content is provided.
  3. If you have a vision for the design approach share that at the beginning of the project. It’s counter productive for the design team to make their initial creative presentation without knowing what you have in mind from the start.
  4. Be specific when you're providing feedback. When you give generalized descriptions like “make it edgier, cooler, smarter, or more modern,” all of these descriptors are open to various interpretations. Be clear and detailed. It’s likely the design team will end up going down a “creative rabbit trail” taking additional time trying to decipher exactly what you meant.
  5. Avoid making changes piecemeal. It is far more efficient to give the design team all of the changes at once. Changes that come in little by little will lead to more time reworking the design unnecessarily.

Great design doesn’t happen with a few clicks of the mouse no matter how talented the designer is. Serious thought and time should be allowed for a successful final product. Given that most clients are under the gun themselves timewise, following these five steps will make the process go smoother and allow the time necessary for the designers to do their best creative work. When time becomes the bogeyman it’s usually of our own making.

Greg Simmons,

Creative Director


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