Is design your hobby?
No. Design is my passion. I graduated from McKenzie College with a certificate from the Visual Arts Foundation program and a Graphic Design diploma. I learned website development and construction through McKenzie’s graphic design curriculum.
What software do you use?
I use the industry standard – Adobe Creative Cloud – including Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
I also have access to Microsoft Office products for documents, slide shows and and the like.
What computer do you have?
I use an older model of MacBook Pro 12,1 with macOS 10.14.1 installed.
Develop a roadmap to reach your goals. The result is a smooth route to travel that ends at the correct destination. Some helpful roadmap ideas are:
- Create a comprehensive profile of your target audience, including gender, age, marital status, income, general health, location, and any other pieces of information which could be linked to your product or service.
- Outline the solutions that you provide to your clients and the means that you use to assist them in attaining their goals.
- Compile results from studies, tests, and/or product reviews.
- List the names of your competitors and collect information about what they offer.
- Compare your product or service to that of a competitor or competitors. (What does your product or service do better, and why would someone choose yours over theirs and vice versa.)
- Compile a list of some similar designs and/or products that you believe have merit.
- Determine the media sources that work best for your product and/or service – print, the Web, an application, social media, or a mixture.
- Sketch out and/or list ideas that you would like to see integrated into your chosen media platforms.
Determine exactly what it is that you want to achieve:
- List how your designs will be used – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, social events, etc.
- Evaluate similar designs that you like and/or dislike.
- Determine the colours that you want to use and why.
- Decide if you will use print materials, the Web, social media, and or a combination of these sources.
- Sketch out or list you ideas and thoughts.
While every design is different, I always follow a specific set of guidelines. Working through them is my process – the inner workings my design.
This is the most important step. Without questions, I would merely be creating art, rather than art that emulates your vision. To work I must gain a clear understanding of the inner workings of your business and project.
Looking at similar designs
I almost always ask for you to provide examples of designs that you like and/or dislike. If you don’t have any, I will find some and review them with you. This review process provides me with insight about the direction you wish to go and the image you want to express.
As a designer I am trained to understand why you like something, even if you don’t know why yourself. I look at the similarities and differences between each discussed design, noting your likes and dislikes.
Strong design evolves through solid planning. Items to consider when building a strong foundation are:
- Looking at similar businesses doing similar things.
Understanding customers’ buying habits.
- Finding information about how others might experience your product(s).
- Turning words into icons.
- Jotting down notes.
- Picking apart information.
The main goal here is a better understanding of the most effective way to meet your needs.
After all questions are answered and all data is analysed, I begin sketching out basic ideas for your project. After creating several sketchbook pages of ideas, I evaluate every possible solution and note what works well and what does not. I, then, pull out the best, breaking down each aspect of your project to formulate the perfect concept.
Next, I take the chosen ideas and pull them into a digital environment like Adobe Illustrator to fine-tune and perfect. In this digital environment I insert the values, shades, and colours that best express the essence of your project’s concept.
Before going any further I schedule a follow up presentation with you. Together we look at examples of the designs that you have provided to me, noting what you like. Then, I switch over to the concept that I have created and show it to you both in mock-up and via its raw working files. The purpose of the mock-up is to show you what the design will look like if it is made real. The working files show the whole picture.
During the presentation I invite you to give feedback and request edits and /or changes to the concept I have developed. It is important for me to know what you like and what you would like changed. My job is to take your ideas and breathe life into them. Sometimes, I get it wrong, and I need for you to tell me, so that I can make the proper adjustments.
During our meeting I will also tell you why I chose to make certain design-based decisions. If you still do not like the decision(s) I have made, I will be happy to make any and all changes you request. Often, several presentations and multiple rounds of edits are required to create a solid project. This goes with the territory and is both normal and expected.
Making it real
Once you approve of my work, the design can be in any format you choose. Should you wish for me to be involved in the process of printing and further development, we can easily move into that phase.
Every project is different, and payments can be arranged depending on the specifics of the project and your circumstances. I normally require a deposit and a signed contract, especially when working with new clients.
The word contract can be intimidating, but a contract benefits and protects all parties. All that a contract does is to put in writing what has already been agreed to in previous discussions. This way no one relies on memories and the possibility of misunderstandings is eliminated.
*The scheduler will check your timezone which you can change. zjFineDesign is located in New Brunswick, Canada.