The past few weeks we have been talking about the Design Process. In my world, there are 7 simple steps to the design process that I have previously written about. We’ve already covered (in individual posts) about The Client Meeting, The Brief, Research & Brainstorming, and Sketching. Now we come to the step that often people are just chomping at the bit to do – the rendering, or building of the design. This is the stage where you [finally] take it to the computer. I want to point out that there were FOUR steps to take before you should pick up your mouse. These four steps are going to make this rendering phase, the most efficient and successful.
The rendering phase can be the most fulfilling because your design is taking shape, but before you get to excited, here are the things to learn about this step.
So, you’ve done your sketching. Even though this step is the digital rendering phase, there’s actually a few more things you have to do before firing up your Adobe Creative Suite:
1) Go back over all of your sketches and find no more than three ideas that have the most potential for further development.
2) You choose those three ideas by looking through and deciding between the ones that reflect the concept the best. Take a look at all your sketches, see the ones that grab your attention, then circle them.
3) Go back and look at your mind map, mainly the concept that you got out of it, and compare it to your sketches to see which ones match up best.
Going through this process within the process will allow you to further analyze your decisions and moving forward with some semi permanent designs. Especially when it comes to logos, this particular step is really important. If you are doing something like a poster, ad or any other kind of layout, you’re going to want to narrow it down to only one or two ideas, as those can take a lot longer to render.
Choosing to narrow which [sketched] designs to take to the rendering phase to no more than three, forces you to focus on what will backup your concept and benefit your client the best.
The rendering stage involves taking the sketched options and bringing them into Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign. This is the stage where you start to implement type faces into your design, font-finding can be one of the most time consuming but is undoubtedly one of the most important choices that you will make in your designs. I have thousands of font options on my computer. However, thanks to sketching I will have an idea of the type of font that I will need to be looking for so that I can find what I need to easier than just scrolling through and randomly choosing one that looks good. Often in the sketching phase I will have written small notes to the side of each sketch as to the kind of typeface I am looking for to match that particular idea. The best way to decide is to gather all of the fonts that you are considering together on one page to work with and then delete.
When it comes to narrowing your type choices, you should be constantly questioning why you chose the ones that you have on that page then delete and question again and keep deleting until you only have a few typeface options to move forward with; options that can only be backed up by your concept.
From this point you will be able take a look at all of typefaces that are left to find the best solutions to apply to your chosen sketches to make them renderable. Side note: I just want to point out that the Adobe Creative Suite programs are each created for the creation of specific things. These are not hard fast rules but Illustrator is best for things like type manipulation, logo creation, vector illustrations, and non photographic element creation. Photoshop is best for color correction, retouching and manipulation of photos, special effects, user interface and mobile design, as well as creation of web and motion graphics. And InDesign is best for multipage document creation and layouts of books, brochures, etc., it allows for master pages and page numbering as well as typesetting large amounts of text.
Knowing which program to use for which design will help your rendering process be the best that it can be and output like a professional.
By the end of this step in the process, you should have no more than three but as few as one or two black and white rendered ideas (if it’s a logo) and at least one (maybe two) roughly rendered ideas that are suitable to present to your client. Some designers prefer to consult with their client on their ideas in sketch phase to make sure that the rendering phase isn’t worthless if the client doesn’t like the direction. This of course, is at your discretion. I very rarely do this because it is often difficult for a client to see my vision or direction based on extremely rough sketches. I am always aware and prepared for some changes after presenting my first render, but that will be discussed more next week.
Rendering can be time-consuming, but just as with the other steps your time should be getting less and less each one in the process because of all your preparation in the early stages. Next week we will talk about the presentation (and revision) phases. Until then, remember, design is a wonderful world. I hope you’ll join me here, because design matters.