Before commencing with the design phase of any graphic design project, it is important that you, as the graphic designer, create a project outline to guide both you and your client on the direction the project will take. It also presents some semblance of a structure from where you and your client can begin your discussions. The methods to put together a project outline vary; we'll cover the essentials in this article, but other methods are taught in many online design classes.
The project outline translates the steps that you have in mind on how to proceed with the project. Sometimes, in the desire to complete the project, some things might be overlooked. With a project outline, it eliminates that possibility.
When creating a graphic design project format outline, you must ensure that all the things you need to incorporate into the design and discussions with the client are included in the outline. How you will format your outline would matter in the final outcome of the project. It also reflects on how the project will progress once the client gives the notice to proceed. Of course, the outline will vary depending on the size and scope of the project. Generally, you need to include the following in your outline:
- A general description of each element that must be included in the design
- The content for each of the elements
- The number of pages or layouts required
- Other relevant items such as material, color, and others as may be deemed important by the graphic designer
As you discuss the project with your client, you can add or delete items depending upon the needs of your client. Some projects may require more detailed outlines and some do not. Each bulleted point in your project outline also becomes your topic of discussion with your client. It keeps the project on track and straying away from the current project in consideration is avoided. As you go along with the discussion, both you and your client are also getting a walk-through on how the project will proceed when the project pushes through.
Having a project outline allows the designer to estimate the time required to complete the project. It also gives the client an idea on the extent of the work needed to be done to complete the project. Before quoting your professional fee, it is best to show the outline to the client.
The project outline should be included in your proposal. This gives your client an idea on where he/she will be spending his money and what the expected results would be. Having an outline also helps the client to decide whether he will proceed or discontinue the project due to time or budgetary constraints.
The project outline keeps the project within the scope and timeframe. Overshooting the budget and time frame is a big no-no for graphic designers. Having an outline also helps you work within the plan. Once you sign a contract with the client, it is important that you work within the budget and keep yourself on schedule. Otherwise, you can lose some money; or if you are late with your project completion, you might lose some customers. Other good business practices for designers are taught in online programs in design and the arts.