Since 1997 when I worked with my very first client, eMall, on holiday GIFs for their new catalog site, I have learned a lot on the most effective approach for any project, be it logo design, a branding campaign, UI and UX interface design, websites, video presentations, and keynotes. This approach always yields the most effective results. I call this The 5 D's. It all starts with a conversation.
Discuss, Discover, Design, Develop, and Deliver
Discuss: Expectations | Wish List | Scale | Wants | Needs Budget | Timing | Involvement | Schedule
Not just at the first meeting or on the initial phone call, but throughout the entire lifetime of any project, there needs to be a healthy balance of information exchange between the client and the designer/developer. This includes specifications of the project, discussion on aesthetics, likes and dislikes, and general understanding of goals and deliverables. I’ve found that all initial conversations bring to surface some unknowns, and opens up new possibilities which the client was unaware of. This usually adds excitement and energy to the project. For example, I once was hired to design a brochure. Through the discussion of their future uses of this printed investment, I was able to offer the idea of a brochure as a folded info-graphic, and then to double its usage as a poster for their trade shows. Thinking outside the box will open up a whole world of possibilities unknown at the start. If you need this type of marketing consultation, let’s talk!
Discover: Competition | Trends | Integration | Technology
Research is essential in each of the projects I’ve worked on. We need to be sure our logo and icons are not copies, and then our site designs work with the expectations of the users. How can we be sure that we are making the most logical and thoughtful choices? The discovery stage does just this. Through research, we uncover trends, review options, and homogenize the competition’s approaches so we can stand out while fitting in. This is also when we look at options we don’t want, which is as valuable as knowing what the client likes.
Design: Color | Unique | Align | Font | Weight Space | Size | Relation | Shape | Meaningful
Not much to really explain here. Design is pretty clear, right? Well, yes and no. Design not only includes shapes and colors, it also covers the font and type treatment, the messaging, the overall vibe. In some instances, it’s the timing, the subtle kick-back of an animated title. Design is the look, feel, usage, layout, timing, and character of the product. It’s not a $50 logo. It’s the beautiful offspring of the discussions and discovery. Congrats! It’s a logo, website, video, keynote, branded campaign!
Develop: Code | Program | Functional | Interface | Data
Not so fast there slick, we have to make this baby sing! Develop is code. Develop is construction. To develop is to piece together all of the above into a functional end result. Logos are the
easiest simplest to develop; after their design, we create about a dozen file formats and a usage-guideline. Websites can be a complicated product to develop; the more complex the site, the more to develop, test, tweak, and re-code. Videos and interactive media have their own development process; such as the use of story-boards and keyframes and double-clicks. There has never been a simple easy one-click process to develop for any one of these kinds of deliverables. Because all projects have specific purposes, they require thoughtful approaches.
Deliver: Print | Web | Video | AdWords | Social Media | Stationary | Signage | Keynote | Kiosk | Disc
Whether it be print, digital, or billboard, the choices abound and the costs will range. I have experience in almost every aspect of media except broadcast TV. Delivering a website is fairly straightforward and requires dozens of flips to switch and knobs to toggle. In any case, being present and included in the delivery process ensures your project gets out on time and with minimal problems.
Where Do You Go From Here?