Although parts of the design process will differ, depending on the type and size of project at hand, this is the usual design process that I follow. 

1. Question

I start by looking into the company/product at hand. What are the values of the company? What do they stand for? What is their mission? What are they trying to achieve? Why does this company NEED this design? What is the goal of the project and how can I represent this goal/mission/interest visually?

2. Research

I research their past design, what worked and what didn’t. I evaluate their strengths and their weaknesses. This allows me to define the problem. Then, I let that information simmer in the back of mind, while I take a dive into what the competition is doing. I’m a strong believer in the power of Pinterest. I use Pinterest to make a mood board and a research board. I make the research board, where I pin past designs from the company and their competition, so I have visual representation of what has been done and what is being done now. I also make an inspiration board for each project, with different visuals that apply to my thoughts on what the design might end up like. This becomes filled with anything from photos of the target audience, their style and their interests to contemporary designs that I find appealing and color schemes that come to mind. 

3. Brainstorming

This is when pencil hits paper. I usually do two to three different brainstorming exercises for a project. I favor visual brain dumps and mind-mapping, but sometimes something else just feels right for the project. Mind-Mapping allows me to quickly jot down connecting thoughts and expand an idea further. I find connections between ideas and really get into my head. Visual brain dumps allow me to quickly sketch out whatever comes to mind. By not filtering what I put on paper, I’m able to make quick realizations and have more of those “aha” moments that fuel great concepts. At the end of a few brainstorming exercises, I can go through and circle the ideas that pop out as good concepts, then filter a few of those concepts into deeper exercises. By repeating the process, I’m able to turn a good idea into a greater idea, and figure out which one is the best to roll with. 

4. Concept

After the brainstorming exercises, I'm ready to take what I've developed and run with a solid, purposeful concept.

5. Sketches

Another pencil meets paper moment; I love those! I've got a concept and a clear idea of what I want to happen so now I get to make thumbnails and sketches exploring different possibilities. I do at least a couple of pages of sketches for each project. I try to consider as many options as I can possibly think of. By the time I run out of ideas, I almost always have a favorite, the magical design that stands out from the rest. That's the one.

6. Design

After sketching, it's time to go back to the computer. Whatever process necessary to finish the design is performed. This would differ greatly depending on the type of project. If I'm designing a website, the layout I've sketched will be implemented into the design, but if I'm designing a logo, I'll trace over it in Illustrator, using the tools to perfect it. Ideas from the inspiration board can come back into play if I am left to choose things like color scheme, typeface or copy. I'll try out different options and make sure the final product is the absolute best I can produce!

7. Deliver

Now that I've questioned the problem at hand, researched past and present designs of the company and it's competition, brainstormed to develop a concise concept, sketched out my ideas and implemented those sketches into a finished design,
I have a polished product to deliver! Work with me>>