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A You-Centered Design Process (Or, What it’s like when your designer actually listens)

Design Process

Clients often land in our inboxes at the start of their projects by way of referrals or inbound leads, but sometimes they come to us after reaching their breaking point with another designer. They may have gotten halfway to their deadline without ever seeing a mockup, or perhaps the final product was nothing like what was discussed. Worse still, their previous designer may have taken a deposit and ghosted.

If you have firsthand knowledge of what we’re talking about, we feel for you. After all, you’re not just paying your designer. You’re paying him or her to help you with your business. Wrong steps, wasted time, and misspent money are not just a blow to your ego but a hit to your bottom line.

The right designer should help you feel comfortable throughout your project, answer any questions you may have, and never, ever (ever!) ghost. He or she should also be upfront with their processes and stick to deadlines so you don’t have to chase down what’s owed.

We’re happy to say that we’ve refined our process over the years to give our clients what they need when they need it. We’ve broken it down here so you can reference it before starting a design project with us or anyone else. Because whether you use our company or not, you should be treated to a seamless and smooth design process that yields excellent results.

J2Design’s 7-Step Process to Design Bliss

Step 1: Initial conversation. Before starting any design process or project, you need to be sure that you feel comfortable with your design team. The initial conversation is like a first date where you’ll feel out your design team and suss out any “red flags” that may not sit right with you. Do you feel like the designer is hearing what you’re saying? Do you feel comfortable with their approach? Do they ask insightful questions? Honestly assess these things–and anything else that’s important to you–to be sure they’re the right team for your job. J2Design’s initial conversation is always free of charge.

Step 2: Question and answer.
If you decide to engage J2Design for your project, we’ll send over a questionnaire for you to complete. The questionnaire is designed to get to the heart of your business goals, help us learn more about your style, and give us a bird’s eye view of your business. It will also help us understand where this project fits in with your business overall.

Step 3: Customer deep dive. Your business needs customers and we’ll study your audience so we can design what engages them. Do your customers respond better to some colors over others? Are they older? Young? Which platforms do they use? The more we know, the better we can appeal to them. We’ll present you with notes on our findings so you know where we’re coming from as we move to design.

 Step 4: Research, research, research.
We’ll take some time to research your competition and your industry to help your brand stand out while fitting in.

Step 4: First look. This is the most rewarding part of our job; it’s the moment we present you with the initial mockups of your new logo, website, pamphlet, or whatever it is we’re working on. We’ll offer up several options and walk you through them. Our goal is to have a dialogue with you about your mockups, not lecture you, so ask questions and express likes and dislikes.

Step 5: Have your say.
Your feedback is crucial to the process and helps us get closer to where we need to be for you. We’ll allow time in the production schedule for you to sit with your project, think about it, and provide as much feedback as you need. Now is the time to be extra opinionated and extra picky!

Step 6: Finishing touches. We’ll get back to work after receiving your feedback to make the changes and tweaks that are required to make you happy. We may even ask for feedback again during this stage to be sure we’re still on track. And of course, we’ll keep fine-tuning until you’re thrilled with the result.

Step 7: Delivery. We’ll deliver the final approved files in whatever file formats you need (and maybe even some you don’t). Remember, you own your project, not us.

The design process can be tough without the right team to help you through it. But with a few honest conversations and a commitment to a clear process, you can end up with exactly what you wanted.

Want to get started on your next design project? Contact us at jaclyn@j2designnyc.com

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