Having a great design experience takes effort from two sides: the agency or designer needs to know their process and be able to communicate their choices, while the client needs to be open to that communication and a willing participant in the process. To create a truly unique and successful product that reflects the client’s brand or vision, designers and clients must collaborate together as a team.
What to expect at a project kickoff
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, a kickoff can take a few different forms. It can be in-person, over video chat, or on the phone. Whenever possible, especially if this is your first time with an agency, try to meet in person. This minimizes confusion, maximizes understanding, and aids in building a relationship with your new partners. During a kickoff, the agency should lead with several questions aimed at identifying your project and brand goals. This will help them establish underlying needs and some big picture targets. You will work together with the team to discuss the best ways to develop and realize your vision.
A successful kickoff will follow up with a recap of what was discussed and the nitty-gritty of scope and timelines, as well as what could potentially affect them.
What to expect after kickoff
After your project parameters and goals have been thoroughly discussed, a team will work together to finalize any copy for your project and create a wireframe. This wireframe is a rough draft that maps out what the team thinks is the most successful way to meet your goals. Wireframes will vary depending on an agency’s best practices, but generally they show grids, content placement, and suggested typefaces, colors, and illustration or photography styles.
This step is important if a project is to succeed and stay within its original budget. Pay close attention to what is proposed on the rough draft because changes after this stage can be time-consuming and costly. Follow your gut — if you aren’t sure a style fits in your brand or relates to your audience, this is the time to bring it up — but be prepared to listen to the designer’s thoughts. Don’t hesitate with feedback at this stage. It is far easier to make changes to the wireframe than the first draft.
What to expect with the first draft
Once the wireframe is approved, designers will start work on the first draft. This step brings life into the project and should take all of your feedback during the wireframing stage into account. The team will present you with a fully realized design based on the goals and guidelines you shared during the kickoff.
From here your project may need minor or major edits to the design. Minor edits would include things like changing a few words or adjusting one of the colors. Major changes deviate from the approved wireframe and could affect scope or even incur additional charges. Changes that involve layout or illustration styles often mean that the project must go back to square one and start completely over.
Have any questions? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments or contact us here.