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The practice of graphic or communication design is founded on crafting visual communications between clients and their audience. The communication must carry a specific message to a specific audience on behalf of the client, and do so effectively. The process of developing effective design is complex. It begins with research and the definition of project goals. Defining goals allows you to home in on precisely what to communicate and who the audience is. You can then appropriately craft the message you are trying to communicate to them. Don’t assume anything; both the designer and the client should listen closely to each other and ask plenty of questions. Keep in regular communication, document discussions, and ensure that you have written confirmation of decisions. Design research should also include technical advice from subcontractors, e.g. writers, illustrators and printers. Designers are responsible for the development of the creative concepts that express the message. A concept is an idea that supports and reinforces communication of key messages, by presenting them in interesting, unique, and memorable ways on both intellectual and emotional levels. An early example of this is the witty and playful ‘think small’ Volkswagen Beetle (VW) advertising campaign of the 1960s. By amplifying the smallness of its car in a ‘big’ car culture, VW was able to create a unique niche in the car market and a strong bond between the VW bug and its audience. Figure 3.1 - Volkswagen Beetle. The pre-design process looks roughly like this:
• Generating a concept• Refining ideas through visual exploration• Preparing rough layouts detailing design direction(s)• Setting preliminary specifications for typography and graphic elements such as photography, illustration, charts, graphs, icons or symbols• Presenting design brief and rough layouts for client consideration• Refining design and layouts if required• Getting client approval of layouts and text
Design is an iterative process that builds the content and its details through critiquing the work as it develops. Critiquing regularly keeps the project on point creatively and compositionally. Critiquing and analysis allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of the whole design, in relation to the concept and problem. QUESTION ONE: TRUE OR FALSE? Design research does not need to include technical advice from subcontractors, e.g. writers, illustrators and printers.