You are hiring me (Beks) as a contractor, along with sub-contractors, to manage and to execute your project as well as to strategically guide your marketing program. I work with designers, writers, programmers, photographers, videographers, and other creatives to get the work done.
You will find that this is a better way to assign creative work than how traditional agencies or firms do it. Typically, traditional organizations assign the work to someone who has the time rather than the talent, the fit, or the interest in the work. At Beks Management, everyone we work with offers us freelance hours. We, and consequently you, only pay for the freelancers’ time when and where we need it.
There is variation in experience, hence hourly rate for those creative professionals. My preference is always to choose the best fit for the job and to always work with the most senior creatives, but if budget is a real concern, we can adapt the team to suit that budget.
Regardless of the creative team assigned, you are always getting Beks’ experience and guidance.
To provide more clarity on the different roles in the creative process, we’ve put together a short guide to who does what during the lifecycle of a design project.
- Creative Director – This is the project lead responsible for the overarching vision of the project. If the client is doing a brand refresh (or is cultivating their brand for the first time), brand guidelines must be articulated first.Using these as a guide, the creative director makes the big decisions about what the project will look like and what assets are needed. Stock images or custom photography? Infographic or pie chart? Video or image slider? They put together a creative brief outlining all the components, and provide a vivid description of the look and tone for the project.
- Art Direction – This step is sometimes done by a production designer or art director, and it can be mocked up digitally using a design program like Adobe XD or Photoshop, or analog on a piece of paper or cocktail napkin.In some cases, ideas or concepts are pulled in from third-party sources as reference, but ultimately the goal is to design a rough blueprint of what the design piece will actually look like, including a general layout for all content.
- Copywriter – this is the person who produces all the words and textual content that will be applied to the graphic design elements of the project.
- Production Designer – Here’s where the actual design file is created. Referencing the work that’s already been done in the creative brief, mock-up, and content, the production designer designs the final piece—usually in Adobe Creative Suite.This person also has creative input in the final product, but they’re not sending the design file to someone else for additional content or revisions at this point. They actually own the file from conception to prepping for print—and this is important for reasons we’ll touch on later.
- Production Project Manager/Liaison – Not be overlooked in comparison to the other creative contributors on our team, the project manager or liaison is the one who ensures the physical manifestation of your project—the brochure, mailout, menu, sign, etc.—actually gets printed. They source the printers, get a quote, and act as a liaison between the production designer and the printer to ensure accuracy and quality control.
Whose file is it anyway?
This is an important expectation to set at the planning stages of any design project. In most cases, the production files belong to the production designer and they are not sent anywhere else. In some cases, copies of working files can be negotiated at an additional cost. There are additional steps and file preparation required if those files need to be sent as a deliverable.
More importantly, the files represent value in the iterative designs that can be created from them. We want to respect the creative property of the person who has actually produced the work. If the files are to be included as a project deliverable, this needs to be outlined at the beginning of the project.