A simple walk-through of how an Angled End piece comes to life

It’s always easier to begin any business venture if you know the process beforehand. This article describes how a typical design project works from start to finish:

#1: Contact & Agreement of Terms

The client first reaches Angled End and describes their project via email or phone (877 7000 AEI). The more detail the client can give us about their project needs, the more accurate and timely our estimate will be. Final costs are subject to change, but we will obtain authorization before beginning any work requiring additional money. Most of AEI’s work is charged by the hour.

After a final project scope has been determined, we send the client a contract outlining the project terms. The contract also stipulates legal restrictions that protect the interests of both parties. A signed copy must be returned to us before work can commence, as well as a check for roughly 1/3 of the expected project total (balances are subsequently paid in full on the first business day of each month).

#2: Initial Design Phase

The first step in the design process is usually an in-depth phone meeting with the client. It’s important to us that we feel like we have a strong understanding of what the client’s organization does, where it came from, and what its target audience is like before we discuss their project goals. Also important is where they want their company to be in the distant future, since we generally want to be tailoring their branding/messaging to that end result.

Once we feel comfortable with our understanding of the client’s needs, we will generally start either with rough sketches or a wireframe: a skeletal design that merely demonstrates where the relevant elements are placed in the piece. Starting at this point allows us to focus first on making the piece functional, which is usually the foremost priority for any commercial design. Once we feel like we have the wireframe designs ironed out, we move onto…

Comprehensive designs (“comps”), which are mock-ups of the final product that show the visual direction that the project may go in. The first comps are usually fairly rough; more proof-of-concepts than polished designs, which allow us to demonstrate the visual direction that we’re suggesting without investing a lot of time (read: money) into that direction, just in case it’s not working for the client. If the client isn’t happy with the first direction, we’re more than happy to try a different direction. Oftentimes a design that’s not working is the effort that helps us get to what is working.

#3: Fine-tuning & Output 

We will then tweak various aspects of the project based on client feedback and our own continued design investigation. What happens next depends on the project type:

Print: For single-page print jobs, most of the work is finished by this point – only pre-press preparation is needed to send the final files to the press. For multi-page jobs, the remaining work is made as content comes in from the client. In this case, design and approval for each page are completed in succession (though not necessarily in order). Once all page designs are finalized and approved, we will complete any remaining pre-press work and send the job to press.

Websites and Multimedia: Final design approval on the home page (web design) or primary interface (media design) is needed before proper site production can commence, since changes requested after production has begun are much harder to implement. Completion of the website in its staging area (a temporary, non-public location) is followed by publishing and then submission to the major search engines.

Logos: Following the comprehensive stage in logo design are:

  1. Adjustments per client feedback/further design investigation
  2. Meticulous refinements to perfect the logo for print and/or web use
  3. Exporting of logo files in various formats, sizes and color modes

#4: Happily Ever After

That’s all there is to it! More often than not, the process above is followed by the happy client requesting another design project. 😉

Whit GurleyWhit Gurley is the owner and chief design geek at Angled End.