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Print Design Process

The following is an outline that covers the ALL of the basic steps in the process of putting together a print project - whether you have to see them or not. Most new projects take around two to three weeks from the start through the design process, depending on the size and complexity of the project.

Stage 1: Information gathering
 
A project starts with a briefing meeting (see below) with one of our designers. This usually takes place in our premises or can be handled on the phone via email - we're flexible. We will talk through the job, looking at what you want to achieve and when. This meeting often includes a discussion of design samples, paper, other materials and types of printing, and discussing text, photography, page counts, print runs and schedules. If any information is missing to enable us to cost the work we'll let you know what we need.
 
Briefing - General questions
 
What does your organization do?
How are you distinct from other organizations?
What has been the build-up to this project?
What are you trying to achieve with the proposed piece of work?
What ideally do you want the reader or receiver to do, think, feel or remember afterwards?
What is your main message and what, in order of importance, are the other messages?
Who is your target audience and why might they be interested in what you're saying or offering?
What is this audience like and can you give us a typical profile of them?
 
Briefing - Practical questions
 
Do you need someone to edit your work to give it consistency or focus for a particular target group?
Do you have a source of images or photographs, or do you need a photographer or illustrator?
Do you need someone to come up with ideas for campaigns or new names for organizations or projects?
Have you already got logos and colors that are part of an established visual identity?
Are there practical considerations of size and weight to consider for post costs and envelope sizes?
Do you want to use recycled or environmentally-friendly materials?
Do you need to give information in other languages?
Are there particular accessibility standards you want to meet?
Is the new publication to be part of a future or existing family of resources?
How will the communication be distributed?
Do you have an idea of quantity?
What is your timeline?
What is your budget?
 
Questions, questions! Don't worry if you can't answer all these questions. A briefing meeting is not meant to feel like an physical exam and you'll probably have lots of questions for us too.
 
Anything else we need to think about?
If you have any materials that have inspired you - an eye-catching ad, a well-designed leaflet, a report you enjoyed reading - then bring them along to the meeting or send them to us via email. They could be promoting something totally different but might have the 'feel' you're looking for or use colors you want to use.
 
Stage 2: Costing the project
Next we will give you an estimate that includes a job specification and, in more complex jobs, a summary of what was agreed at the briefing meeting. The estimate gives a breakdown of design and production costs. This usually takes three or four days. At this stage the client often comes back to discuss and modify the specification to fit a budget.
 
Stage 3: Gathering resources & scheduling
Resources are text, photos, illustrations etc. We are happy to commission these for you or work with what you supply. Sometimes it's useful to start a design using sample headers, images and filler text before the real text and photographs are created. Whatever route we take, at this stage we will work out who needs to do what by when so that we can achieve your deadline.
 
Stage 4: Design
Once we have enough resources, the designer will work on creative ideas and give you a mock-up or digital visuals of part or all of the product. You will have time to consider the designs and come back to the designer with your thoughts and what changes might be required. It's our job to meet your needs and we will keep going back to design ideas until you're happy.
 
Stage 5: Proofing
With smaller jobs, like leaflets, the design stage includes a first proof. With larger projects, the approved design idea is applied to the whole publication before we supply a first proof. Usually two or three proofs are enough to make amendments and check detail. We budget for the client to make small changes to the text but if major alterations come to light at this stage, we will review the job costs and specifications. If extra work is required, it will be costed and rescheduled (if necessary) and agreed with you before we go ahead.
 
Stage 6: Production

Once a final proof is signed-off, the work goes to production with our contractor (usually a printing company). If the job is full-color, we will send you a printer's proof to check colors. On final delivery, we check quality (e.g. color consistency and finishing) to make sure you are satisfied with the final product. The designer can also proof it if there is a need.

Stage 7: Archiving and re-use We keep an archive of your work on our computer system so you can make changes and order reprints at a later date. You hold copyright for the design we do for you, so if you'd like the technical files, just let us know and we'll supply them to you as part of the job. (Please note: photography and illustration have their own separate copyright agreements.)
's ink.


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