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Analog Graphic Design – The Process

May 11 2009

Remember the good old days of x-acto knives, marker comps and rubylith paper? I don’t. These ancient design techniques are something that I only had to experience while I was in college. They went along well with the professor’s general “when I was your age” spiel. None the less I feel I’m a better designer for having experience at least some of what my kind had to do on a daily basis back in the day.

I was recently working on a logo design and kept finding myself right back behind the computer without having done my prefered dozens of thumbnails with pencil and paper. I have a tendancy sometimes to gravitate back to my digital safety blanket before working through ideas on paper. But, generally, I find the best technique for myself to be:

1. brainstorming words and simple ideas
2. 30-50 quick thumbnails on paper
3. working out a few roughs of the better thumbnail concepts on paper
4. researching visual treatments for those concepts
5. putting pixel to canvas on the computer via Photoshop and Illustrator
6. presenting comps to the client.

Most of the time if I follow the tried and true methods that have worked for years, I get much better results and everyone is happier in the end. While I’m not using x-actos and rubylith paper, starting designs on paper is definitely the way to go with both graphic design and website design.