Design is about getting the right idea,
and getting the idea right.
—Marty Neumeier
Design Process
Chapter 2: The
Extraordinary design solutions rarely manifest themselves out
of thin air. While it is conceivable that a creative “eureka”
can and does take place, it is a rare occurrence; and even
then, it takes time for a skilled designer to develop and fur-
ther refi ne the idea. More commonly, graphic design is the
process of discovering ideas that will enhance the client’s im-
age, promote its products or services, or transmit a message
that needs to be communicated to the target audience.
39
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The Complete Graphic Designer
40
Extraordinary design solutions in which the image, message, and concept
converge are the result of a comprehensive and thorough process of explo-
ration and discovery. To visually communicate the creativity of a copywriter,
this series of business cards uses a photograph of an open book as a
background, with a brief explanation of his services. Doodles and sketches
related to copywriting fi ll the rest of the card.
Design: Kinetic
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The Design Process
41
Although it varies from person to person and from
rm to fi rm, a thoughtful and well-structured design
process, like the one we will explore in this chap-
ter, is essential to solving visual communication
problems. It is a tried and true methodology for the
exploration, experimentation, and, ultimately, discern-
ment of ideas appropriate for the design problem
—whether mundane, trite, or cliché, unexpected or
out of the ordinary. Referred to as the design con-
cept, the “right” idea is one that is so simple, logical,
and relevant to the problem that everything about it
communicates the intended message. Good concepts
reinforce and drive messages deep into the minds of
the target audience.
Visual communication relies on the designer’s ability
to quickly adapt, understand, and respond to the needs
of the client. It is essential to begin by looking at the
problem from all angles and then defi ne the most
important aspects of that problem. By mapping out
these points early on, the designer will be able to gen-
erate a variety of appropriate ideas that will quickly
help determine the best route to solve a particular
design challenge. There are many steps and different
ways to work through the design process, and each
designer creates a procedure that works best. How-
ever, in order to be successful, research, writing, and
drawing are all fundamental skills that every designer
needs to develop.
Conceptually, this book cover speaks to the
audience on many levels. The use of thick
black bars are suggestive of the view from
inside a prison cell and reinforce the subtitle
of the book.
Design: Pentagram
By referencing not only the work of
an art movement but also incorpo-
rating its stylistic conventions, this
poster for a Charles Renee Mack-
intosh exhibit uses typeface, color
palette, and imagery to convey an
authentic message to viewers.
Design: Shinnoske, Inc.
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