The 5 phases of a successful graphic design project

Would you like to work with a graphic designer and have your new brochure designed for you? And you ask yourself: How does a graphic design project actually work? What can I expect? What does working with a freelance graphic designer actually look like?

The flow of a graphic design project is always similar and goes through certain phases. In this article I will explain which phases these are and what exactly happens in these phases.

Here we go!

Article overview

Phase 1: Getting to know each other and briefing

The first call, the first email
The first contact is always made at the beginning of a collaboration.

You contact your graphic designer by phone, email or via the contact form on the website. The graphic designer then arranges a personal appointment with you for a detailed initial consultation.

This interview can take place at the graphic designer’s premises or directly at your company. If the distance is too great, a personal conversation via Skype or Zoom is a good idea.

Tip: Incidentally, in this phase it is not yet worth bombarding the graphic designer with the question “How much will it cost me?”. He just can’t tell you (yet), because every brochure, every flyer and every project has its own requirements. He can only accurately estimate the effort in phase 2.

The first conversation – getting to know each other
This interview is primarily about the graphic designer getting to know you and your project. Get insights into your company and develop an understanding of your ideas and visions.

In addition to the feasibility of your project and the costs, you would of course also like to get to know your counterpart and their ideas. Because it is of no use to you if you have a professional at your side with whom you cannot work as a person or who does not understand your company or your product.

In this interview, introduce yourself briefly, explain what you do and what ideas you have. The more precise this initial information is, the more precisely the graphic designer can estimate the effort and your investment in the project.

Then the graphic designer tells you something about himself and explains exactly whether he is the right contact person for your project and what the process will be like. He will ask you questions about your company to collect information that is important for the further process.

In my article “How to save time and money with an optimal briefing for your graphic artist”, I describe exactly what the graphic designer should know and receive in terms of information. There I will give you detailed insights into the need for a precise briefing from your graphic designer.

You can also get rid of all your questions about the cooperation in this conversation.

After this conversation you will know the answers to these questions: Do I like the graphic designer? Do I want to work with him? Can he implement my project? Does he understand my project, my visions and ideas? What is the rough concept and schedule?

Provision of Your Material
In the first conversation, the graphic designer can tell you exactly how he would like you to send the material.

Since data such as images, text, logos and open working files are usually quite large, it is worth sharing them via Dropbox or Google Drive.

This means that the material and later the current versions of the drafts are always in one place and you can access them at any time.

Phase 2: Quotation and order confirmation

Based on the detailed information from the first meeting, the graphic designer will create an individually tailored and detailed offer for you within a few days.

If you have not already done so in phase 1 and nothing else has been agreed, you should provide him with all the material for the project at the latest when signing the order confirmation. Then the graphic designer can get started on the agreed date.

Depending on the agreement, you already pay a first part of the project sum.

Phase 3: conception and design

The first drafts emerge
After the detailed preparation, you can now sit back and relax. Because now the graphic designer starts with the conception and design development. He gives initial thoughts, researches, collects ideas and makes sketches on paper.

These sketches are then implemented using the Adobe InDesign graphics program. Because InDesign is ideal for creating brochures.

Phase 4: Presentation and corrections

Now you finally get something to see
It doesn’t matter whether you meet in person or communicate via Skype or e-mail: the graphic designer will present you with several different design suggestions for your new brochure. He will also explain his idea and the background of the designs to you in more detail.

You look at the suggestions at your leisure and decide in which direction you want to go and which draft is your favourite. You discuss your change requests. In a second round of corrections, further adjustments are then made to your favorite design.

There are usually two or three rounds of corrections. Depending on what you have decided with your graphic designer, there is another round of corrections or preparation for printing.

Phase 5: Creation of print data

After the last round of corrections, the graphic designer creates an optimized print file from the previous design draft. There he prepares all elements and content for printing.

The print file then waits for your final approval.

You check the file one last time before it goes to print. At this point, I always recommend having texts checked carefully again. It is best to use proofreading or editing (my personal recommendation: Karo von LIVABLE – The media manufactory) – if not done before. Because if your data is printed and you then discover an error, this is not only very annoying, but also involves additional costs.

The time has come, your brochure is ready!

After your approval, you can send the print file directly to your printer.

And after a few days you will hold your finished brochure in your hands. The production time depends on the edition, design and finishing techniques used for your brochure.


As you can see: The process of a project is not rocket science.

It always goes the same way. Of course, how well and how smoothly the collaboration is designed depends on the graphic designer and you.

Important is: Both sides adhere to the agreed agreements and deadlines. You provide all the important information and material. And you discuss ambiguities and questions promptly. Then even an extensive project is just fun and will be successful in the end.

How has the collaboration with your graphic designer gone so far? What is your experience with the project process? Did you like something in particular or would you do something differently? Write me in the comments!

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