Discovery / Client Exercises
To a lot of people, hiring a graphic designer feels like giving up control of how your app looks. This is a common misconception. A great graphic designer uses a structured process to understand what you may have a difficult time communicating. Remember, graphic designers speak in a visual language every day. You don't have to give up control at all. They'll help you create the vision that is within you.
One of the exercises that we like to invite clients to do is a fun step-by-step process that will help us hone in on a truly forward design that speaks to your market and attitude perfectly. Basically, we ask them to go to our client list and click through the clients that speak to them from their logo alone and let us know the first few they’re drawn to (write them down immediately, we'll discuss later). This will be based on attitudes they already have about those companies or the look and feel of the logo. The client list is located here: http://techgrayscale.com/clientele.html.
Next, click this link (http://techgrayscale.com) and do the same thing (except this time you're looking at our work), letting us know which actual work that was preformed that you are drawn to. Put these in list number 2 and we'll discuss them later. Don't worry about making too many notes at this point because we'll get specific about elements of the design in our review.
After you record your first reactions from part 1 and 2, we'd encourage you to go through the rest of our work and note things you like and don't like. This is your time to praise and criticize us so that we can learn about you. We'll have lots of questions for you when we meet after you've completed this exercise.
As part of the discovery process we like to have clients sit down with magazines, photographs, etc. and create a collage of visual elements that represent the visual direction of the application. We call these mood boards, and graphic designers use these to sell their ideas at the conceptual level. For a Mercedes feel we might have an image of a stylish woman playing golf, a luxury home, a Rolex, or a sailboat… I think you get the point. Communicate and create a mood with pictures.
In this stage we can talk about what you learned in the discovery process and putting the process in the designer's hands.
User Experience Design
This is the stage where the graphic designers gets to evaluate the ideas that we've begun to form in earlier stages about how an application should function. What's it like to use the app? Do you tap and scroll, hold it to your ear, talk into it? Do you move it around like a Wii device?
User Interface Design
This is where we actually start laying out the elements on the screen. "A scroller on the right, a segment controller at the top, three buttons on the side." Each of the mock up / wireframes in the earlier architecture stage begins to take shape.
Here we define the color, shape, font, etc. of the buttons that we added in the user interface design stage.
This is where we polish and finalize the first screens that you'll see and approve.
Screens are developed and prepared for asset creation.
From the Photoshop PSD files and screen comps we cut out all of the necessary buttons and graphic assets to be imported into the XCode project to be compiled into the app.