Kicking off a graphic design project with a new client is always a challenge. Whether they’re new to graphic design or you’ve never worked with them before, aligning expectations and setting milestones is critical to delivering the project on time and on budget. That’s where a graphic design checklist for clients can help.
Creating a clear series of steps that you can tick off as you progress ensures you’re both on the same page about what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and what the deadlines are.
In this article, we discuss each phase of a project, from kick-off to final product. In each phase, we’ll detail the responsibilities of the client and design team, introducing how technology can streamline the process.
Let’s get started!
Your Complete Graphic Design Checklist for Clients
You’ve received an order from the client! In the first stage, you’ll begin by laying the foundation for all the steps to come. That means planning, planning, and more planning.
Outline the project’s scope, timeline, and deliverables – get a solid idea of what the client wants, what it’ll be used for, and how you’ll run the project.
Include these aspects:
- Graphic Designer’s Responsibilities. Define the project’s scope, objectives, and timelines. Provide a comprehensive project brief that will act as a roadmap through the upcoming steps.
- Client’s Responsibilities. Provide all necessary information, assets, and final objectives. Should answer communications and provide feedback in a timely manner.
Also, explain how you’ll communicate – that could include using online proofing software, messaging service, or some other communication medium.
In this phase, the designer delves deeper into the project, taking the time to research the client’s industry, target audience, and competitors. The designer should collect and organize all this research for later.
The client, meanwhile, should provide any and all materials related to their final objective. Think about the target audience, branding materials, design inspirations, and examples of other work they like.
Online research tools and databases work well to gather and collate information. Some mind-mapping software can also help keep the information organized and make connections between ideas.
- Graphic Designer: Conduct industry, target audience, and competitor research.
- Client: Provide brand materials, design inspirations, and examples of preferred work.
- Organize research using online tools and mind-mapping software.
Based on the designer’s research and information provided by the client, it’s time to start the initial design. While the designer will put significant effort into this step, it’s still only a first draft. Only through further evolution will the final design begin to take shape.
- Use design tools for creating and tweaking designs.
- Establish feedback loops for design refinement.
- Consider multiple design variations for client selection.
Client Review & Feedback
As any graphic designer will know, this stage is often the hardest. Endless email exchanges lead to confusing cross-communication. Vague client notes can further complicate matters as designers struggle to understand what specific changes should be made.
There’s a simple solution: Ashore’s online proofing software.
Developed for creative collaboration, it works for images and PDFs, videos, HTML & web screenshots, and even live websites. Using the platform, clients can annotate the design, noting what specifically they like or dislike – and what they want changed.
There’s no confusion or chasing up clients for feedback. The platform will automatically notify the relevant parties what they need to reply to.
- Use Ashore’s online proofing software for clear and organized feedback.
- Clients can annotate specific likes, dislikes, and requested changes.
- Automatic notifications ensure timely responses from relevant parties.
Revisions are a breeze once you’ve collected all the feedback through a centralized platform. There’s no scratching your head wondering what a client means or what to change. Simply work your way through the annotations and notes.
You can even ask your team for feedback – seeing who left what comment and replying if necessary.
Remember – your job is to bring the client’s feedback and vision to life. If you need clarification, ask for it.
- Work through client annotations and notes for revisions.
- Use feedback from the team for additional insights.
- Review the revised design and provide further feedback if necessary.
Another important task on the graphic design checklist for clients: the final review. Hopefully, the majority of the changes should already be completed. There may be a few last tweaks the client may request to make the final product absolutely perfect.
Once again, an online proofing platform’s annotation and feedback tools streamline this process. You can see the client’s feedback instantly and make changes within a few hours for their review.
- Make any last tweaks based on final client feedback.
- Use online proofing tools for streamlined annotation and feedback.
- Client: Give final approval on the design.
In the penultimate stage, you can get the final seal of approval. That usually comes after all the comments and revisions are completed, and the client gives the final piece the thumbs up.
- Ensure all comments and revisions are completed to the client’s satisfaction.
- Provide final approval of the design.
That’s it! It’s time to check off the last box on our graphic design checklist for clients: The Final Design – whether that be getting it printed or turning it into a functional digital tool, e.g., a website.
The production stage shouldn’t involve any more feedback or revisions. However, the graphic designers will need to hand over the project to another department or team member.
- Finalize design for print or digital implementation.
- Hand over the project to the relevant department or team member for production.
That’s our complete graphic design checklist for clients. Work your way through the stages, and tick off the points as you go. Interest in Ashore? Get started for FREE to streamline your graphic design process, speed up revisions, and take your client collaboration to the next level.