Working with a creative studio
Your firm’s involvement in the success of your communication projects
The overview below will introduce you to the creative process and help you understand your role in the success of your branding and communication projects when working with a creative studio.
The assignment of a project manager
You must first designate a staff member of your company, possibly the director of marketing, as the decision maker and contact person representing your firm. This person must be available when needed, able to make timely decisions and be responsible for obtaining all necessary approvals and authorizations within your company.
The design brief
It is important to establish a clear direction at the beginning of the project. This ensures that all participants have a common understanding of what needs to be done. The best way to do this is to work with the studio’s account manager that is responsible for your account to establish clear project objectives and expected results. The account manager will meet with the project manager designated by your company and will ask a series of questions to establish a design brief for the project. A design brief is important to define the goals and objectives of the project, identify target audiences and key messages to communicate, and to establish a budget, set a completion date and define the desired outcome and how the campaign will be measured. This information will serve as a reference for the design team in the design process. Working closely with your account manager is the best way to ensure the success of your project, setting project goals, establishing processes and ensuring that the studio has access to everything it needs to complete the project on time and within budget.
The initial research
To create a communication platform that will establish a distinct position for your company, your products and services, the designers at the studio will strive to understand your business and its objectives. Their initial research will include an examination of your competitors and the state of your communications, marketing messages and current promotional activities.
Concept development and refinement
Generally, the studio will propose two different creative directions for your project. During the presentation, you’ll have to weigh the merits of each proposition next to your marketing goals and inform your account manager of the improvements to be made to the concept.
The studio will then refine the chosen concept and present a revised version for approval. Before giving your approval you must be satisfied with the concept, graphics, selected colors, typefaces, photographic and design styles, as well as the type of paper if printed.
If your contract with the studio includes copywriting, the project manager will receive a preliminary version of the text which must be carefully reviewed, making sure that the original concept is respected. If needed, the studio will modify the text and present a corrected version for approval. Before giving your final approval, you must be convinced that the text meets your communication goals.
Ideally, any revision to the text should be made before the layout of documents. A revision made after the page layout is done takes longer and increases costs.
Design and pre-production
This is where all the elements comes together. All photos and illustrations required for the project are produced and pages are laid out with the final text. At the end of the layout process, the studio will provide a preliminary proof for approval. You must get all the necessary internal approvals and carefully check the contents of the proof for accuracy. Any changes required should be communicated to your account manager.
When you are ready to approve the project for final production, your account manager will provide you with a final approval form. It is important to indicate all required changes before signing. Once the approval is signed the project will begin the final phase of production.
This phase includes the preparation of all the files needed for printing, online publication or for the creation of a ePublication, and begins after the final approval has been signed.
For printed material, the studio provides printing proofs of each item for approval. This is the last opportunity to make changes before the job gets printed. Before giving final approval, your project manager must get all the necessary internal approvals and check the proofs carefully. Any changes at this stage could result in additional costs. Once your project manager approves these final proofs, the job will be printed.
The studio then monitors the quality of the print job and provides the final press OK to the printing firm so that it can proceed with the agreed draw. The studio can also take care of all delivery logistics if required.
As the communication platform is implemented, the studio monitors the results and ensures the follow-up process, in consultation with your project manager and your marketing department, to implements needed changes during and after the campaign.