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A Guide To The Creative Design Process


Ever wondered how great ideas happen? We see it all the time – a genius marketing campaign, a mind-blowing poster, or a logo that became so iconic it might have taken on a power of its own.

Creative design agencies specialise in helping brands create ground-breaking creative campaigns. They can do this consistently by relying on a solid creative design process that can be replicated every time.

In this post, we’ll look at the steps that go into any type of design and how they shape the process!

Stage 1: The Brief

The creative process starts with a brief, which usually comes in the form of an inquiry from a client. It can take time to formulate a good, concise brief, and sometimes designers and their clients work together to do so.

A brief will outline what the objectives of the campaign or project will be. But it will also determine critical components that must be included. A brief should contain information about your brand, the industry, and the core values you want to portray.

The brief functions as the foundation of the whole project, making it crucial for the designer and client to take their time and agree on what’s to be achieved.

Stage 2: Research

Once the objective and guidelines for the project are determined, the next step is to do some preliminary groundwork. This is where a creative design agency will get to know your brand as best as possible to understand what colours, language, symbols and statements your business has been associated with so far.

It’s also the stage at which market research features most heavily. Many questions need to be answered, and those answers can’t all be provided by the client alone. Design agencies need to understand the target audience as well and accurately predict what they will resonate with.

This can be done through surveys, white papers, interviews, industry reports, test groups and more. Often, the research involves looking at competitors and analysing what worked for them and what might have backfired.

Stage 3: The “Sketching” Phase

In graphic design, the next stage would involve jotting down as many ideas as possible on paper. Many agencies use a quantity over quality approach at this stage. This ensures that you have a vast pool of ideas to choose from. Designers create quick logo sketches, illustrators thumbnail their compositions, and interactive design teams will brainstorm a massive list of features and ideas that could be interesting.

This stage is where creative agencies often have an advantage over individual designers. They simply can bring more creative talent together around a table to contribute their experience and produce ideas in large quantities.

With a pool of sketches or concepts available to you, it is then possible to start excluding what doesn’t work and narrowing down your options.

Stage 4: Fleshing Out The Design

Once a few favourites have emerged from the idea creation process, it’s time to flesh out these ideas and make sure they hold up. This means incorporating more details, writing complete scripts, mocking up logos to see them on various materials and social platforms.

In this stage, the winning ideas will be given more life, and a single best strategy might emerge. Different colours and versions of an idea can be tested out and perfected.

Stage 5: Presentation

Finally, it’s time for the design work to be shown to the client. Ideas at this stage will be presented with finalised design elements for a variety of uses. Logos are typically displayed with their typography, without black and white, white on black, in colour, etc.

But if your creative agency worked with you on a long-running campaign, this stage will also summarise the exact points of action at every step of the way! This is a chance to provide final feedback and make the last revisions. The presentation may also involve showing the results to a test audience that can give further feedback.

Stage 6: Revision

It comes as no surprise that after more feedback is received, an idea should be revised. In agile, creative teams, this process occurs more frequently and can happen along the journey. The client is often involved in the whole process and gives input along the way. This avoids having to change too much at late presentation stages. Stage 6 and 5 repeat themselves until the product is completed and everyone is satisfied.

Ready to Engage in the Creative Process?

Do you have a brief you’re eager to see put into action? ZAK Agency is a creative design agency based in London that employs an agile strategy to take a brief to completion.

Our creative talent explores ground-breaking new ideas, and we work closely with our network of U-30 consumers to target the most influential target audiences.

Get in touch today to have a chat!