The Ultimate Guide to the Graphic Design Workflow

Mrignayni Pandey

Content strategist, and copywriter.
October 25, 2022

Are you looking for a strategy to refine your team's design process? Check out our step-by-step guide to discover how you can optimize operations and polish your output at the same time!

It’s not uncommon for different designers to adopt different graphic design processes. However, when it comes to working on multiple projects, it’s good to follow a step-by-step workflow to streamline the design process without compromising on the results and client satisfaction. 

This is where a graphic design workflow comes in. It’s a checklist or a graphic design standard operating procedure (SOP) of sorts that outlines all the creative design process steps

In this article, we’ll detail why a graphic design workflow is important and how you can create one for your organization. 

Let’s start with the benefits of a creative workflow process.

Why you should create a graphic design workflow

A solid graphic design workflow helps you manage the project better and ensures that your final deliverable exceeds the client’s expectations. Here’s how:

6 steps that make up an efficient graphic design workflow

Here are the steps your graphic design process must consist of to enable your team to deliver quality design consistently to clients. 

1. Review the brief with your team

The design brief contains all the essential information your team will need to start the project. Ideally, it shouldn’t be more than two pages and must include the following details:

Image source: Envato Elements

2. Go all in on research

The brief gives you a lot of valuable information to start with, but you’ll have to engage in research to understand the needs of your client’s target audience and figure out how your design will help them stand out. 

Here’s a list of questions your research should be able to answer: 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can even set up a meeting with the client to ask more questions and share your ideas to better understand what they’re looking for. 

3. Brainstorm ideas with your team

Now that you’ve got a clearly defined problem at hand, you need to brainstorm ideas to solve them. Here are some tips for conducting a productive brainstorming session:

4. Create a mood board 

A mood board, also called an inspiration board, is a collage of images, material samples, colors, and typography that portrays the “look” of a project.

Image source: Tubik Blog

It helps you refine the ideas you acquired in the previous step by swapping out different elements and collaborating with your team. Plus, it helps communicate your ideas to the client and get feedback from them. 

Here’s how you can get started with creating a mood board:

5. Make a rough sketch of your ideas and get feedback

Mood boarding and brainstorming should give you enough ideas to get started. Now, you’ve got to convert those ideas into rough designs to arrive at one you can start digitizing. 

You can use a digital medium like an iPad  or simply use a pen and paper to create a rough sketch of the ideas you brainstormed. 

After the rough sketch is complete, get internal feedback to improve a few aspects of the design and submit them to the client for external feedback. 

External feedback is important for two reasons: 

6. Start working on the project

Now comes the hard part — working on the designs and shipping the end product to the clients. 

In this stage, using a dedicated project management tool will help you optimize your workflow, submit the project on time, and minimize the number of edits. 

Yes, we know  the handbook of project management for graphic designers includes generalized tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp, or worse, emails and texts. 

But that has to change because it’s difficult to maintain accountability and easy for feedback or important project details to be lost in a bunch of emails and text. 

Artwork Flow is a dedicated artwork management tool and creative collaboration software that streamlines your communication, adds clarity to your projects, and makes gathering feedback a breeze. 

Here are some features and tools that’ll help you:

After you’ve collected  incorporated  all the feedback, do an internal check to see if you’ve incorporated the feedback and if your final product embodies your client’s expectations before delivering it. 

Wrapping up 

A solid design workflow process helps you deliver projects that exceed your client’s expectations. 

The steps mentioned above should help you create a process that works for your team and improves productivity. 

If you want to go further in multiplying this productivity and collaborating better with internal and external stakeholders, use a creative collaboration software like Artwork Flow. 

It helps you track progress, proofreads the artwork for you, and shows feedback from all stakeholders in a single place. This eliminates any confusion and minimizes project delays. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Artwork Flow can help your team, sign up for a free demo today.

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