When a client approaches a design agency about creating something for them it is the first step in a long process that sees an idea turn from concept to print and ultimately production. There are several steps an agency will go through to fulfil a client’s brief as well as involving several different people with different design skills to make it happen. Understanding this process can help you to define your role within this process whether it is as a graphic designer, artworker or printer.
Stage 1 – The Brief:
Design agencies are approached everyday to create a wide variety of different materials, be it simple business stationery or more complex advertising graphics. Whatever the job however, the first step is to obtain a brief from the client detailing what they are looking for, what their budget is and their turnaround time.
Briefings may be informal to begin with, but once hired the agency will then meet again with the client to discuss their project in more detail.
Stage 2 – Ideas Development:
During this stage graphic designers and art directors will come to together to brainstorm ideas and develop some design concepts to present to the client. This stage may also see artworkers employed to create mock up designs according to a designer’s brief which depending on what the client wants could be anything from digital images to 3D models.
These design ideas are then presented to the client and any adjustments or fine tuning is carried out according to their feedback. Once the client has approved a particular design it is time to create the artwork necessary to produce the finished product.
Stage 3 – Artwork Creation:
Here the graphic designer will work on setting out the final artwork for the client’s order. Often they will create a brief based on this and send it to an artworker who will actually create the artwork files. Final proofing and editing will be carried out before the final files are saved as a PDF ready to be forwarded on to the printers. The role of the artworker at this stage is perhaps the most important as they are charged with actually creating the agreed design and ensuring every aspect of the project is as per the client’s brief. Unlike the graphic designer’s role, artworker jobs are not creative but do require a person with an eye for detail and the knowledge to ensure the files sent to the printers are ‘print ready’.
Stage 4 – Print Production:
The final stage sees the print ready files forwarded to the printers ready for production. If requested the printer will produce a sample copy which will be sent back to the designer and client for final approval. If any adjustments are necessary then the artworker will be required to edit the files accordingly and re-submit for printing.
Although this is a slimmed down version of the design to print process, it does give a good overview of how graphic designer, art director and artworker jobs fit in a modern design agency, as well as a breakdown of the various stages a job will go through to meet with a client’s brief.