Although creative development is different for every project and different at every firm, we’ve put together a generic process list so you can anticipate the flow of a project at Cameron Design.

INITIAL REVIEW – An in-depth discussion will help us understand your needs and define the framework of the project. Even if you have a written design brief and supporting research materials, a live conversation can help us quickly understand your product or service and allow us to clarify any details.

PROJECT PROPOSAL – Before work is started, we will prepare an estimate to clearly define the project objective and outline the scope of the work and deliverables. A “Timeline & Investment” page includes a place for signature agreement and becomes our contract for the project. Standard industry policies are also attached.

CATEGORY AUDIT – Once we have an agreement, the first stage of any design project is to get a look at the market, meaning your competition, parallel categories, industry movement, and possible conflicts. Much of this information will likely come from you, since you know your business better than we do, but we’ll dig into the industry and get to know your market, too.

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN – Now that we’ve got our minds around the possibilities, Cameron Design goes to work producing solutions. In this first design phase, we’ll apply what we’ve learned to create strategic visual communications that address the issues we’ve defined. Only the main elements of a project will be addressed at this time, to save both time and money. Concepts are judged by how well they meet the stated objectives.

DESIGN REVISIONS – Based on client feedback, a few of the options are brought forward for continued development. In the concept phase above it would be too expensive to create a polished piece for something that might just be set aside, so we use this phase to narrow in on an idea: this type, that image, bolder and brighter, more modern and sleek, etc.

DESIGN REFINEMENTS – Here we take the most promising elements and continue to refine them, making improvements to every detail to hone a piece into shape. Color, type, and images all get put under the microscope.

DESIGN EXTENSIONS – This phase extends the main design elements to additional pieces. If we’re working on an identity project, we’ll demonstrate the design on stationery or signage. If it’s packaging, we’ll work up back panels or flesh out the flavor system. The idea is to put the concept to the test and address issues that might come up in execution – and to demonstrate the complete system before all of the elements are in their final form.

FINALIZATION – Now that all the pieces are in place and everything has been approved, we’re able finalize (or commission, if necessary) the final pieces of art needed to complete the project: Illustration, photography, custom calligraphy, or purchasing stock photo rights. In this phase, all final tweaks are made to all of the elements, so that the next phase is focused entirely on technical execution.

MECHANICALS – When all of the final art pieces are approved, the last step of the design process is to create mechanicals, which are the layout files with all final art in place and prepared for the printer or programmer. These files are accompanied by a digital proof, usually an Adobe® Acrobat PDF file, or a hardcopy proof for full color print work. Files might also include printer notes regarding color separations or other technical data.

PREPRESS MANAGEMENT – For print projects, some of our clients prefer that we help direct the transition from electronic art file to film, plate, press, and paper. Our experience in printing can help ensure the quality of the final product, and can help save time, money, and frustration, too.

PRESS APPROVALS – Having an expert at the press while your project is being printed can be a big help. The trick, however, is to get the job right in prepress, then the press approval can simply be a disaster-check – or better yet, a formality.

Please note that complex projects might require more phases, such as prepping for mid-stage consumer testing. Likewise, simple projects might require less phases. This process is built to ensure the best possible results, whatever your specific needs may be.

Next time you think about what it might take to launch that new brand or address that outdated company image, we hope you’ll think of us. We’d love to help you get it done right.