Workflow Basics for Creative Professionals
Workflow is often a scary word for designers because designers are perfectionists and obsessed with details. Anticipating every detail of a workflow is overwhelming. Relax, take a deep breath and keep it simple. Your workflow may become more complex over time but in the beginning, it can be simple.
- Commit your workflow to "paper" by documenting how jobs travel through your office (from creation to completion — remember to include invoicing and archiving).
- Decide how you’re going to name and organize files and folders on your in-house or cloud server (or your local hard drive). Start with a Client or Work-in-Progress folder. You may have additional folders like Administrative, Archive or Vendors (don’t worry, you can change them in the future). Web-safe file and folder names work best.
- Share your workflow document with everyone on your team and tweak it as often as you need. Make it a working, living, document that designated users can revise (we use Teamwork and Google Apps). Refer to it often. Put someone in charge of enforcing the workflow. Ask us to review your workflow. We’re happy to share what we know from working with hundreds of creative professionals.
In this very basic example workflow, routing to the next person in charge of approval moves the stages forward. Sometimes approval to move forward fails. For example, a problem is found during the Proof process that sends the job back to Production. That’s OK. It means your workflow is working. Better to find the problem at stage 6 than during stage 7! Make sure approvals are part of your workflow.
- Open the Job
- Create Concepts
- Team Review
- Invoice and collect payment for the job
- Close the job
Common Questions to Answer
- Who initiates the job?
- Who archives the job?
- Who closes the job?