Everyone from president of a company to part-time admin assistant has been graced with the burden of designing a flyer, post card, poster, etc. Most people are pressed for time, so they begin working on the computer with their favorite graphic design program. Little do they know, this actually lengthens the required time to complete their graphic design.
All designers will tell you to brainstorm, sketch, organize ideas, and so on, and I say the same thing. There are many things that I do before designing anything, but I have created a table that helps me organize my ideas. This table will help anyone that is faced with a graphic design project, so please put this to good use, before you go to the computer to create your masterpiece!
An explanation of each line is included below.
Graphic Design Pre-Project Checklist/Table
- Target Audience:
- Call To Action:
- Delivery Time Frame:
- Response Time Frame:
- Elements To Include:
Title - Give your project a title. This will help you organize files on the computer and find them at a later date, because you will always come back to an old file.
Budget - You must determine what the total budget of this project is. Establishing a budget will help you determine the best way to start your design and what special elements and features you can put into it.
Format - What will this project look like? Is it a 4x6 postcard or tri-fold brochure? How will it be distributed?
Purpose - List here what the purpose of this piece is. List why you are creating it, who it is for, why they need it, and what they are supposed to do.
Target Audience - Expand on who this project is intended for. Detail demographic, sociographic, and psychographic details about your target. This will help you in determining what the piece will look like and what kind of style it should have.
Call To Action - Explain exactly what you want the target to do. (i.e. Call Now - 1-800-555-5555, Visit Us On The Web!, or Return The Enclosed Card)
Delivery Time Frame - How long will it take to design, print, and deliver this piece to your audience? This makes you analyze what will be required to for delivery.
Response Time Frame - How long do you expect the target to take before taking action? This is useful when determining wording, call to action, and delivery methods. This will also establish a point in time to start return analysis.
Elements To Include - This should be the longest item in your table. You need to list everything you want in your piece. You don't have to write out every bit of text, but I include at least sub topics. Also include address info, pictures, tables, requests, logos, etc. Anything that you want in your graphic design project should be included here. If you are working with a team, you will be able to review these elements and eliminate several revisions later.
Feel free to copy and distribute this table. It has been invaluable to me on every one of my projects, and I think you find your projects take less time, look better, and are more effective.
Nate Stockard is the owner of Stockard & Associates Inc, a marketing and design firm in Houston, TX specializing in small business solutions. He is also the author of The Market Seedling, an informative source of information, articles, tips, and advice for small business owners and marketers.