Every project is different, even if you’re designing in one program like Adobe Illustrator. How I build and design a project can depend heavily on many things. Asking some essential questions will eliminate many roadblocks and red flags when getting the job done on time successfully.
The most important: When do you need it?
Of course you needed it yesterday! Rush projects are the norm in the world of design. We call them fire drills here at Interamark. Even the most prepared client has jobs they need us to turn and burn on. There are some obvious drawbacks and one of the first things to be cut is the planning and research stage—essentially the foundation of the project. Good design is effective design, and discovering what will be effective is a product of logical planning and research, both of which take time. So knowing the deadline even when it’s tight is the most important thing for a designer to strategize a path to success. I always joke that I push pixels for a living. The reality is the more time I get to push pixels around, the better.
Print or web?
This is a basic question, but an important one. It determines the file size and color profile in which I will be working. RGB and CYMK colors can be drastically different on screen and in print. In most cases, clients know when they need to go to print. But sometimes in a rushed environment (see above), details can be overlooked or the product of a last-minute idea. “Oh no! We need brochures for an event in London next week. Can you print and ship by Friday?” True story (and clients, we never back down from a challenge!).
The more time we have for print jobs, the less expensive it will be for you. The faster the printer has to work and the sooner it needs to be somewhere can add up the total cost of the project.
What are the technical details of the online destination?
Face it clients: You may not know the answer off the top of your head. We don’t always either, but considerations like final format can affect design as well as the design process. And while it may seem that certain projects like PowerPoint presentations should be straightforward, well, maybe not. Is the PowerPoint going to printed as a handout? If that’s the case, you may not want any animation with layers on your slides. This is also true with some online video conferencing tools. Animations may not play correctly, and that’s the last thing you want during an important meeting, say with the CFO of your top prospect. Or do you want your PowerPoint exported as a video, a Flash file, or maybe even an HTML 5 file? As you can see, even with common deliverables like PowerPoint, the final exported file can be a loaded question. In short, understand that the questions we ask are to make sure you get the right product—and right results.