Now that you know what design is, we can start to look at what is involved in the process of design.
If design is about communication, and making things clearer—then it pays to begin with research and planning. This gives us the best chance of success. The best way to start is by asking questions.
What is the Goal?
The first thing you need to research is what the aim of the design work is. Talk to the people responsible for the event/project/sermon and ask them what they hope the design will achieve. It might be a goal like:
- Increase giving.
- Give people a desire to come along to an upcoming event.
- Set the tone for an upcoming sermon series.
This goal should inform all the decisions you make about the design piece. Checking them against the aim of the piece will help keep it on track. This way you can ensure your design is successful and helpful to the ministry.
What is the Subtext?
Often there is more to be communicated than just the simple goal of the piece.
It can be important to make sure that the tone or style of the design is in keeping with organization. You don’t want to design a seniors morning tea invitation to look like a nightclub flyer. Or perhaps the sermon series is parodying some form of popular culture – this could be incorporated into the design.
Talk to the person responsible to get an idea of what the overall feel or ‘vibe’ of the design should be.
Who is the Audience?
Now you know what you have to say—you need to make sure you say it in a way that is appropriate to the audience. Different people communicate in different ways. Some groups of people may be more visual, while others prefer to read information. Certain age demographics will relate to different references that others might not understand.
Find out who the design is for—and do some research into what the best way to communicate with them.
Stop. And Think…
You might be tempted to jump straight on your computer and get to work at this point. Let me encourage you to hold off a little longer…
Rather than getting started straight away—take some time to think through the project.
Think about the results of your research and see where that thinking leads you. Even better—once you’ve reviewed the research, go and do something else—have a shower, go for a run, sleep on it. You’ll often find something comes to you while your brain is otherwise occupied.
Get Out Your Pen and Paper
It can also be handy to brainstorm—write out everything that comes to mind when thinking about how you would communicate the message to the audience. No idea is too weird—write it all down. The aim is to get ALL the ideas out on paper.
Next you can go back through the list of ideas and think them through a little more—gradually working your way through the best ideas and refining them. Be continuing through this process and refining ideas – you should come to a good approach.
You can also take the opportunity to sketch out some ideas. It is way quicker to try out options and ideas on paper than it is in a computer – so this is a good chance to experiment.
NOW You Can Get Started
Now you’ve properly researched, planned and got some ideas—you can get to work. We’ll be covering some great tips on designing in the next few articles in this series.