How did you do that?

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Last week in my British Media class, one of our assignments was to find a book related to our field of communication and write a review on it. It was kind of a challenge to find a graphic design book that wasn’t 1. totally boring or 2. just photos, but then I stumbled across this book called Graphic Design Process: From Problem to Solution. It had beautiful photographs, interesting text, examples from the UK, and was available as an e-book through the library (thanks, UNC).

I’ll spare you the full review, but it is worth the read, as there are lots of awesome, out-of-the box examples from real firms and designers. While thinking of what to blog about for this week, this book inspired me to write a little about my own creative process.

A lot of times, people ask “How did you make that?” and I just shrug them off and say “It wasn’t much, really.” But, the more I think about it, I do have my own informal “creative process.” I may not follow exactly the steps the book explores, but it’s a start.

1. Assignment
That sounds really intimidating, but it can really be as simple as an email giving me a list of things I should include on the graphic. Sometimes, my “client,” who is usually my boss or a friend, will give me full creative liberty – which can be scary at times, especially if it’s a week with chronic designer’s block (yes, it’s a real thing).

2. Designspiration
This is probably the most fun part, because I get to spend hours on Pinterest looking at other people’s beautiful designs. The amount of time I spend scrolling through pins and search tags depends on if I’m already feeling inspired or not. If I’m doing a hand lettering project (like #fangirlfriday) I’ll probably browse Instagram and look at my favorite lettering artists.

3. Concept
I’d honestly never sketched before designing until my first graphic design class, when sketching would become part of our final portfolio. I try to utilize it as often as I can now, if even just to get all my ideas on paper before transferring them to the computer. Lots of times these are extremely rough ideas, especially since I’m no artist without Adobe.

4. Action
Now, the fun begins. I’ll open up Illustrator, bring in my samples of inspiration, refer to my sketches, and get to work designing. Sometimes, I’ll create several different ideas before I decide on a design that I really like, so it’s hard to put a timeframe on this part of the design process. Once I’m finished, I’ll export it in whatever file format is necessary, and then it’s ready for publication.

That’s it! Not a very extensive process, and certainly not formal, but these are generally the steps I follow when designing.

Have a question about the design process or want to share your own? Comment below or tweet me!

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