For the past few weeks, quite a bit of my time here at the Headquarters Graphic Art’s Department has been spent on designing all sorts of publications. Following are some simple steps on how to take a design project from start to finish.
1. Determine the theme, mood and/or purpose. A birthday card design will usually look a whole lot different than something like the book cover we were designing last week, “Resolving Seven Deadly Stresses.”
2. Draw thumbnails. This is the most creative part! On a piece of paper, just scratch out ideas for where text and pictures should be and how they fit together. It usually takes me at least a dozen thumbnails to get something that looks good enough to go forward with.
3. Think of applicable pictures and decide on a color scheme. Things will naturally come to mind as you think about your theme. For a booklet titled “Anointed for Greater Works”, I began working with more olive green colors and bright or “skyish” pictures.
4. Open up Photoshop and combine your thoughts and thumbnails. For me, this is the most enjoyable step. For the “Equipping Dads Seminar” brochure, I playing around a long time with the title before I got something I really liked. With color and effects, your thumbnails can change quite a bit.
5. Check to make sure you are applying the basic rules of design. As I was struggling to get one project to look right, someone walked in and suggested I use heavier alignment. Minutes afterward, I had a surprisingly transformed design ready to go.
6. Add special effects. Once you have a layout you like, it’s important to spiffy up the text, add borders, color correct pictures and take care of all the details to make your layout a finished project.
7. Have others critique your work. This can happen at any point in the designing process, but it’s amazing how someone else can point out things that you would never have thought of. One night, our department worked together till past 12:00 designing, critiquing, and redesigning comps for an important, time-sensitive publication. It was actually pretty fun!
So, next time you cringe at the thought of needing to design something, remember that it becomes much simpler, as well as more enjoyable, when you break it down into seven simple, achievable steps. “For God is not the author of confusion…” (I Corinthians 14:40)