Whether you are creating a wedding stationery, a billboard ad, or a portfolio website, the one step that designers should almost always need to perfect is their choice of final design. After all, this is what clients pay you for and what will make your business more valuable in the eyes of your customers.
But before you can come up with the best final design for any kind of project, a certain level of introspection is required. As a lead designer of a project, you need to develop the necessary skills that will allow you to effectively choose a final design that matches the client’s brief.
And to help you with that, we have compiled the top 7 questions that any graphic artist should ask themselves before deciding on a final design. Read each question carefully and make sure to answer them as honestly as you can.
What is the design theme?
One of the first things to consider when creating any kind of project is its theme or motif. At the beginning stage of the design creation process, following a theme will help direct creators on the right path for that specific design.
But this is not where the importance of a project’s design theme ends. As the lead designer, you still need to make sure that your final design sticks to the original theme you have decided with at the beginning.
To illustrate, if you are creating a billboard design for a mid-range activewear clothing brand, the final billboard design should adhere to the active lifestyle and market demographic that the brand caters. Of course, your clients will still have to approve a specific design or not. What is important is that you (as the lead designer) would have already narrowed down the design choices so that your clients will no longer feel overwhelmed on what final design to choose and use for their respective projects.
Is it too trendy?
Before choosing a final design, the next question to ask yourself is whether or not a design is too trendy. There can be a few instances where trendy designs can work out well for brands. But if having a project design that can be used for multiple instances throughout the years is your goal, you may have to evaluate if a certain design is trendy or not.
As with any kind of design project, designers are given a project brief or a description of what the client wants to have or achieve for a specific project. And most often, clients will prefer a design that will withstand the test of time and something that can be incorporated well into other marketing and informational corporate publications. As the lead designer, you need to determine and choose a final design that will match the client’s desires and, at the same time, not be too stylish that everyone else in the industry is doing it.
Can the design be easily understood?
Most graphic design projects are meant to entice and make another person think by just looking at it. This is the reason why most clients demand the creation of simple yet impactful design suggestions.
It is then your job as the graphic designer to translate the client’s objective into something that can be easily understood by the public. In short, you are the storyteller. And you need to choose a final design that will best tell the brand’s story to your audience.
For instance, if you are tasked with the creation of a company logo of a family-owned restaurant, you need to choose a final design that will imbibe the spirit of a family cooperation, easy meals, and fun times all in one tiny logo. Achieving the perfect logo design that perfectly fits the bill can be difficult. However, if you begin with the company’s story—its beginnings and how it continues to provide hearty meals for families—you will have a story to tell and you can begin developing design mockups that match that narrative.
To determine if your design can easily be understood or not before submitting it your client for review, you may take inspiration from real-world examples of projects found on graphic design inspiration blogs Behance, Dribbble, Template.net, Canva, and colourlovers.com.
Are all included graphic design elements licensed and legally obtained?
In most cases, graphic design projects will involve the use of different kinds of graphic design elements. From flat icons to logo designs to certain typeface families, designers will need to, one way or another, source these key design elements from different people or sites.
This is why, if you are now on the penultimate stage of the design process, you would most likely need to make sure that all the graphic design elements incorporated in any of your final designs are all sourced legally.
For instance, this means that you need to ask yourself and verify if a certain font style was bought and downloaded legally. As the lead designer, you also need to recheck if these design components can be used for commercial purposes. One main reason for asking yourself these questions is to make sure that you (and your client) will not be sued for intellectual copyright infringement in the future.
Ask yourself this question before you choose a final design and you will save yourself (and your client) any potential legal headache in the future. And even if you do not get sued in the future, the negative publicity associated with using someone else’s design or a derivative thereof without their written permission may break your own and your client’s credibility.
How does the design measure up against its competitors?
One of the main purposes of creating impactful design is for marketing. Brands and businesses frequently need to come up with a creative and enticing way to present their services and their products to any potential client in order to continue their market leads or to break into a specific market.
And using creative designs on various advertising and marketing materials is one way to get the attention of their targeted audience base. This is the reason why, as the design head, you need to ask yourself if a certain design can measure hold up well against its competitors in the same industry or not. Your answer to this question will greatly help you determine how a client will react to being presented with a specific design mock-up or suggestion.
By keeping this question at the forefront of your mind before you choose a final design, you will already have gauged how your design can be compared with and measure up against the designs of other services or products in the market. Clients will certainly appreciate it when you have already taken out the competition comparison task out of their hands and they will only be left with a design that can do wonders for their own businesses.
Is the design too expensive or difficult to reproduce?
As we have mentioned earlier, creative designs can be used in and incorporated into different end products and for various purposes. For example, a company letterhead design may be used in official company letters or memos while the design itself can be used as the official seal or logo design.
However, in some cases, some graphic design projects may call for complicated configurations or the use of non-traditional art mediums. To illustrate, if you are tasked with the creation of a luxury fashion house’ corporate branding designs and you opted to incorporate 3D elements as the design base, the entire project can be costly to reproduce and make it work for different design mediums due to its complexity. Of course, high-end fashion houses can certainly pay for this kind of project. But this may not be the case for other businesses.
This is one reason why graphic designers and artists need to ask themselves if any of their design suggestions is cost-effective or easy to reproduce or not. It is the job of the designer to create designs that will fit the client’s budget. You need to choose a final design that can be used on different presentation mediums without affecting the design end quality.
Does the design bring you joy?
This last question may not sound too pragmatic but it is a good way to assess whether or not a specific design is worthy of being the final design for any kind of creative project. Before you decide on what final design to use and/or present to your client for approval, you first need to ask yourself and your team (if applicable) if a certain design suggestion brings you joy or not.
It’s a simple yet important question. As the creator, you first need to be satisfied and be happy with a certain design yourself before you can wholeheartedly suggest its use to a client. It also matters that you are comfortable with how a final design will be used by your client. You need to ask yourself if a design brings you joy because it is only after honestly answering this question can you facilitate the use of your design to bring joy to other people’s lives.
Are You Now Ready to Choose Your Final Design?
Graphic design plays an important role in business and in daily life. As a graphic designer, just like any person who has a passion for creative arts, you need to carefully balance creating for yourself and for an audience. With the use of the seven questions that we have listed above, we hope that you can more accurately choose the best final designs for whatever project you may be working on.