Design Strategy Planning For Your Business

Design Strategy Planning, test press sheet, by Lonnie Busch, Franklin, North Carolina

Design Strategy Planning

Design strategy planning should start before you even speak to a designer.  Consider the goals you hope to achieve through hiring a designer. Moreover, begin outlining the full scope of your project. Do you need a logo, brochures, business cards, product labeling? Will you require a website design? How about collateral material, such as ads or rack cards? Or maybe a short explainer video or animation for the landing page of your existing website like the one below?

(Explainer Video for

Design strategy planning revolves around what you want to say

What do you want to communicate to prospective customers? What do you want to SAY? That requires “copy.” Will you write your own copy, or enlist the services of a professional copywriter? If you plan to hire someone, it’s best to have at least an outline of what you are trying to achieve.

Other things to consider during your design strategy  planning is whether or not your project will require photography and artwork. Furthermore, will you provide necessary photos and illustration from your own archives. Or will the designer you hire need to acquire needed assets from outside sources?

Original or Stock?

At this point the main consideration would be; does the photography/artwork need to be “original,” or can it be “stock?” A good example of this might be if you owned a restaurant and wanted shots of unique food items from your menu for your website, and maybe also an interior shot of your establishment, then those images would need to be scheduled with a professional photographer.

Ristorante Paoletti, Highlands, NC, photo by Tom Pantaleo Photography

Ristorante Paoletti, Highlands, NC, photo by Tom Pantaleo Photography

Ristorante Paoletti, Highlands, NC, photo by Tom Pantaleo Photography

On the other hand, if you were a travel agent, you or your designer might want to acquire photography for a brochure from a stock agency. That strategy would be much more cost effective than sending a professional photographer to Italy or the Bahamas.

iStock Photo  [stock photography]

Will you need illustration?

Part of your design strategy planning may include illustration considerations. Will you need original illustration for a specific aspect of your project, or will stock artwork fill the niche. Or maybe some combination of stock and original illustration or graphics.

What’s next? Well, after you and your designer have figured out a direction for the project, discussed details and timing, then it’s time to figure out a budget. After price is agreed upon the sketch/idea phase begins.

What to expect during the sketch phase

The first round of sketches might range in color and design, depicting 2 or 3 ideas, or maybe numerous ideas, depending on the project. The goal here is to narrow down the search for the perfect look or solution for the project.

For instance, a logo design project might involve a couple of rounds of ideas, with feedback after each round. At each step you must voice your likes and dislikes, colors that appeal to you. The designer would then create another round of designs focusing on that feedback.

Once you have chosen the design you love, the final art stage begins. When that stage is complete, you will review finished art one last time before giving final approval.

1718 Brewing Ocracoke_Logo, by Lonnie Busch, Crater Line DesignWhen the process is complete, you should expect to receive from your designer two sets of final files for web and print. First, you need both Source files and Print/Output files. Why two sets of files? Well, some of the graphics might need to be created in Adobe Illustrator, which is a vector based application. You may not have the necessary software to open an .ai file. So the designer would provide you a .pdf or .eps file, extensions you can open. You would also be able to hand those files off to a printing company or magazine.

The same may hold true for raster files, such as Photoshop .psd files. You may not have the software to open a .psd file, so the designer would provide you with .jpg, .tif, or .png files, more universal file types that you should easily be able to open on your computer.

Archiving Your source files

The designer will most likely provide your Source files—the .ai and .psd files—burned to a CD, DVD, or copied to a thumb drive. These should be placed in a safe place for archival reasons in case something would need to be altered on the original files in the future.

So that’s about it. If you have additional questions, or just want to know more, please feel to contact me here: contact page.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you!