A creative agency has the same need. We have a process we follow to produce your marketing materials once an opportunity or a need is identified. When all goes well, our creative production process for any specific project is seamless and transparent. When the process is interrupted or broken, the costs go up and quality may go down. (This is referred to as the project management triangle, triple constraints, or the designer’s holy triangle: Fast, Good or Cheap. Pick two.)
It all starts with the creative brief, which clearly defines the project scope and key messages. Creative briefs can be utilized for many projects and they are a great way for the client and agency to start and stay on the same page. They can be considered a "bible" for any project.
We favor creative briefs developed in a client-agency collaboration, but at a minimum, the scope and objectives need to be clear to everyone on the project team. Here is a simplified process for nearly any designed material.
As you can see, deviations from the expected cause delay and increased costs. Sometimes it is unavoidable and it is agreed that a change in scope to increase quality is worth the price. Beginning with an understanding of the creative production process can go a long way toward helping you help your creative agency deliver great work in a timely and cost-effective way.
Check out our Print Production Checklist for the 28 steps to prepress file preparation.
This article was originally published in 2010. We decided to bring this article back because a good plan never goes out of style especially when working with a team.