25.08.17

The door’s open, the kettle’s on, welcome to the studio.

It starts with a brief and ends with a beautiful piece of design, but what happens in between? We want to open up the doors to a typical, day, week, month, year in the studio and show you how we do things the Fifteen Studio way. There are too many Pukka tea moments to document but we’ll go into as much detail as possible. The journey doesn’t begin when a brief drops into one of our inboxes, design is all about keeping up to date with the latest happenings in the industry, and the entire team follow all of the latest trends (going further than design, because you can draw from any form of inspiration). Now, welcome to the team…

Initial project review

We’ll receive a brief and no matter how many we open it’s always exciting because no two jobs are ever the same. It’s then time to head up to the Fifteen Studio canopy to review the brief and consider, from the offset, what does this brief demand of us and what are the objectives? A massive part of getting things right is understanding why the client is working on the project, what’s the need for it? Then, if there are any questions one of the client services team will send any queries back over to the client just to make sure we’re all on the same page before we begin. Once we’ve nailed down the requirements of the brief, the inspiration begins, and that’s not to say we haven’t been bouncing ideas around the office from the second we opened the briefing document…

Inspiration and research

Timings are finalised between the studio and the client, the job booked in and the research gets underway. That’s when it gets exciting, seeing the breadth of options that there are for one project. What would work well? What doesn’t fit the brief? How can we push the brief to the next level? Is there an alternative route that we see as more beneficial that we could suggest alongside the original plan? Inspiration, research and experimentation are the most important phases of the process as they provide the footing for remarkable concepts and designs.

Creation of visuals

If content has been supplied by the client it is proof-read and brought in line with the tone of voice of the brand, or alternatively, we go back to the drawing board and create all necessary content. Tone of voice is important across all mediums, as is considering whether Google key words or SEO is required for digital content. The copy determines the layout of the designs, so it’s vital the wording is complete and ready for version one of the concepts. Round one of visuals are developed and we can only emphasise how important it is to print things off, stick them on the walls and get everyone to give their honest opinions on them, usually over a coffee and a biscuit or a smoothie! Feedback is considered, designs are tweaked and finalised in-house, and then it’s time to pull the story together into a presentation to show to the client.

Presentation and development of visuals

Confidence in our designs is vital when presenting and it’s always great to have a face-to-face chat so that you can get a true feeling for the client’s reception of the visuals, and so far we think this method has gotten us a pretty good track record. Once we’ve had a good chat and explored the depths of the designs we’ll head back to the studio whilst the client mulls the concepts over. Following this initial presentation we enter a sub-stage, something you’re always aiming to keep to a minimum because then you know it was right first time, there is some to-ing and fro-ing making small tweaks until the design is ready for sign off.

Artwork

The designers artwork as they go along, making sure everything listed below is correct, before one super-detailed check of the final version of the design. Now for the technical bits:

Size of the file: Are dimensions correct? If it’s a print document there needs to be at least a 3mm bleed and print-preparation needs to be checked with the printers beforehand to make sure we have added all appropriate guidelines.

Colours: Again, dependent on the format, if it’s a digital piece the colours need to be RGB and for print, CMYK. Spot colours need to be checked vs. process colours, too. All unused colours need to be deleted to avoid confusion and provide a neat, clean artwork file.

Images: If the design includes any images they need to be prepared according to the appropriate format for resolution purposes. In print documents the images need to be 300dpi and for digital 72dpi and 144dpi. Colour preferences, RGB for digital and CMYK for print, need to be applied too.

Typesetting: There needs to be consistency in font sizes, leading and kerning and a find and replace conducted to remove any double spaces. The copy then needs to be checked for widows and orphans, basically a long-short-long structure for paragraphs. Hanging punctuation is then applied to all copy and hyphens are converted to em dashes where needed.

Proofing: All copy is proof read and checked for correct grammar and spelling.

PDF: For print documents the document needs to be supplied as a high-resolution PDF or according to supplied PDF print settings, crop and bleed marks need adding and then document bleed settings need applying.

Round up

Once we have the final artwork files they’re checked, double-checked, stamped and signed by each member of the team.
If it’s a digital piece then it’s sent across to the appropriate department to be uploaded so that it’s live ready in plenty of time for the deadline and if it’s a printed piece it’s sent across to the printers following our appropriate print recommendations (we get really excited about paper and print techniques, so this is one of our favourite jobs). Following artwork it’s then back over to us, internally, to assess how the job went. Are there any more recommendations we can make to enhance this project as part of a strategic plan? It’s important to remember that everything you produce should have a purpose, don’t design for the sake of it, how will this piece enhance your business, event, product or service? Being truthful with your clients is what stands you in good steads and allows people to trust you. Don’t waste people’s time or money, create designs that have a purpose and you can’t go far wrong.

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