Graphic designers are a huge part of any digital marketing initiative.  Without the proper user experience (UX), any website, mobile app, or advertising campaign will surely fall flat.  The question comes up regularly, how exactly do these expert do their jobs?

While the individual talents and expertise of an individual design will vary, they generally have very similar supportive equipment, whether hardware (computers, peripherals, workstations), software (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), as well as similar workflows and routines.  In this article we will delve into each of these a little bit, to give a behind-the-scenes look at what high level UX designers do when they are hard at work.

The Equipment

Obviously, like any digital job, a good computer is necessary.  What separates a graphic design computer from a regular data entry computer is a few things.  Including:

The Monitor – It’s important to have a monitor that provides a close enough color gamut to reality, especially when dealing with print graphics.  Some monitors can vary greatly with specific colors, leading to inconsistent designs.

The Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) – The graphics card, or CPU, is obviously very important for any graphic designer, but it’s more important when dealing with 3D modelling, video editing, or other high intensity objectives.

The Memory (RAM) – Because design tasks will hold so much graphic data in it’s RAM, its crucial to have enough to complete your tasks.  At least 16 GB, with upwards of 64GB for high intensity tasks, is recommended.

The Software

Software is what most people think of when they think of graphic designers.  Photoshop is obviously the most famous example, and it’s still the dominant software used my most.  However, other Adobe products have started to become more common, including:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Adobe Fireworks

Furthermore, some other competitors have started to come into the market, such as CorelDRAW, Corel PaintShopPro, and a few others.  Free software includes GIMP and SUMO Paint, among others.

The fact of the matter is that there is no lacking in available software, and each comes with its own quirks and features.  If you just beginning, it’s probably best to get training and experience in the industry leader (i.e. Photoshop/Illustrator), and branching out from there.

The Routine

Not referring to the daily routine of an individual (such as morning coffee and Yoga), the routine of a graphic designer in this case refers to the process by which they go about the creative analysis of a given project.  While this will vary from person to person, there has been lots of study into the effective management process, and we’ll summarize a bit below.

  1. Information Gathering

The initial step is to gather as much information of the requirements of the project as possible.  This includes questions such as:

  • What is the deadline?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the intended action or actions?
  • Are their any competitors we should be investigating?
  • Are there any branding considerations?

After we’ve pulled as much information as possible, we can proceed to the next step:

  1. Brainstorming

Since you now have a decent idea of the needs of the project (which should be documented as best you can), it’s now up to your creative side to brainstorm the best designs for these specific needs.

This can be the hardest part, but don’t worry, simply set aside a solid chunk of time for you and your team to storm ideas.  In this phase, there are no bad ideas.

  1. Wireframes

After the brainstorm process, its time to put together wireframes.  These will be initial designs that will serve to represent what the final, completed designs will resemble.  These are meant to gather feedback from stakeholders, so its important to design multiple iterations of each, to allow for possible feedback and selection from higher-ups.

  1. Revisions and Feedback

The revision process will be the bulk of work, since you will need to go back and forth between your team, your client or stakeholders, to perfect the design.  It’s important to get this done right, as it’s likely the most important part of the process.

Conclusion

This is not a comprehensive list of everything involved in the design process, but it does provide some helpful guidance, especially for those just starting out.  We hope it’s been a useful guide, if you have any questions you can forward them to info (at) draftfcb.eu.