Leaving enough time for design

(Posted on 09/03/22)

Leaving enough time for design

The process of creating an illustrated piece of work isn’t the same as the writing process itself. Be it magazine copy, web content, a promotional leaflet or an exhibition stand pull-up, a huge chunk of the process involves design. This is easily forgotten however in the grand scheme of things, when it comes to factoring in timescales for meetings, ongoing discussions and the actual design itself. So, when it comes to creating something that makes a strong visual impact – before you even start reading the accompanying text – it’s worth leaving enough time for design.

Some agencies have an in-house designer, which certainly makes the communications process easier, but whether you’re working in-house or with an external partner, communicating ideas and working up designs and layouts is a key part of the process. From concept to design, a piece of illustrated work can take many forms on its way to completion. A client may love the designs from the off, or there may be a certain back-and-forth, to hone the concept and find clarity amid the various ideas. The beginnings of a design layout can come from anywhere – even a scribbled sketch on a piece of paper. Design is often a difficult discipline to articulate into words, and a designer will need to be both imaginative and proficient, to steer the project successfully.


The design process

A typical design process goes something like this. You have a meeting to define the project – for example, a small four-page printed A5 leaflet. You have to think about what information you want to include in the leaflet, how much will be text and how much imagery. Well-chosen pictures can often speak volumes and convey far more of what you’re trying to say than reams of text. And four pages of A5 doesn’t give you much wriggle room when it comes to space.  

The designer and the copywriter will then collate information, to provide the foundations of what might be included in the final version, but also provide inspiration. They’ll talk to the client and find out how they see the final design and any specific features/images/data they’d like to see included. Don’t forget these should include company information and contact details, such as a website and email address. There might be original artwork required for the imagery – so photographs may need to be taken, such as of staff, products or premises.


Finding one vision

You then need to bring these ideas together to create a digital prototypes of what the brochure would look like. These layouts are easy to amend at this stage – things can be moved around, text can be amended, edited and enlarged/decreased. Different fonts and accompanying images can be tried in various combinations. These initial layouts will then be shown to the client for their thoughts and feedback. Discussions will take place and the pros and cons of the draft designs will be reviewed, until what is liked and what isn’t is decided. In this way, both designer and copywriter will gain a clear idea of the best way forward and what the final version will look like.

As improvements are made, the design is honed to become the final version. As you can see, all this takes time, and that’s not including writing any initial text or the actual printing of the final product for distribution. Of course, what’s outlined above is the absolute ideal, but the reality is that time is usually at a premium when working on such projects.

We work in partnership with designers, who have a great deal of experience in all kinds of media, and we’re often working on very tight deadlines. They have a strong sense of what our clients require and also our own working methods and lead-in times. This makes it easier to collaborate, and it helps that we’re also on the same wavelength on what we like, and what works and what doesn’t.

Don’t think of ‘design’ as simply the design progression, think also of the wider involvement of client and partners, and the actual process, versions, and transformations the concept and layouts will undergo.


Speak to our team to see how we can help you with your design needs.