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Marketing Insights

How To Work with a Creative Agency

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The Design ProcessI know a lot of people that are packaging a product or starting their marketing have not worked with a creative agency before. They have questions and understandably so. I've put together a quick guide to help those that want to take that next step and improve their marketing or their packaging.

Even if this is the first time you have embarked on a project of this nature - don't worry - Catalpha has been doing this for over 25 years. We'll be with you every step of the way.

Here are some basic steps in the design process that you should be familiar with when starting your project. These steps may vary according to the specific requirements of each project, but the basic flow remains the same.

1. General Scope of the Project - Estimating

A. In our initial meeting we'll ask a number of questions to help us understand your goals. Are you trying to design a package? Improve or create a new website? Perhaps you just want to increase your leads through any appropriate type of marketing. Once we understand your goals, we'll be better able to steer you into a direction that will either fit your budget or get you a ballpark estimate.

B. Once the general ballpark has been established, we'll hone in on the details to be able to give you a much tighter estimate so you'll know what to expect for the services rendered.

C. An official estimate is then sent to you for your approval and payment terms are determined. Now the fun stuff begins….

2. The Design Process

Once you've selected Catalpha as your agency the design process will begin.

A. Have you done marketing research? Do you know who your competition is? Why is your idea better then the competition? These are big questions to ponder, but will be important to any marketing initiatives. We will ask you to provide as much background material on your project as possible. We also have an online "design brief" you can complete to help get started.

B. Once we've reviewed the background material you've provided, your Account Manager and Creative Director will meet with/call you to discuss your ideas and goals for the project.

C. After this meeting Catalpha can get started on your design. We will provide design proofs of your project that incorporate your ideas, as well as any photography or custom illustration ideas and initial copy, into a cohesive design for you to review. These comps will most likely be digital files (ie. PDF). They will be emailed to you or uploaded to Catalpha's test server for you to review.

D. After your review, revisions can be made and a final design proof will be provided for your approval. This proof will be a representation of the final project (ie. package, catalog or website) for your review and approval. if your project involves printed material you will receive a mock-up/prototype that reflects the final product. Additional revisions can still be made at this point.

E. When Catalpha receives your final design approval the project moves into the production stage. Upon payment, the final production files are yours. We will provide a disc containing the final files if requested. These files will be suitable to provide to the vendor you have selected for the final production (ie. printer/manufacturer).

3. The Production Stage

After the design process is complete and you have approved your project the production process will begin.

A. If you already have a relationship with a vendor, Catalpha can work with them to provide all of the final production files they need. Catalpha is available to manage all aspects of the production process and coordinate with printers, manufacturers and web hosting partners.

B. Depending on the nature of your project (ie. packaging, website, printed material) the production process will vary. If your project involves printing you will receive a press proof to review before the final print run. Custom packaging projects may also involve approving a final prototype/proof before manufacturing begins. Once the final design has been approved, and the project moves into the production phase, revisions can be expensive. That's why it's important to carefully review your proofs during the initial design process.

C. Your project is delivered! Packaging or printed material will be delivered while web design projects will go live.

4. Building On Success: Branding

Are you building your Brand? Whether you are a new business with a single product, or an established business looking to extend your reach into new markets, Catalpha can help build your unified brand image.

A. Marketplace research: How is your company/product perceived? Who is your competition and how do you compare to them?

B. Assess all of your business and marketing assets: Company logo, promotional/sales material, product photography, website and current marketing efforts.

C. We can develop a unified brand image AND message.

Each of these steps can be expanded upon but this should give you an overview of our creative process. If you still have questions, please give us a call or email. We'll be happy to discuss the details of your specific marketing project. We hope to hear from you soon.

Topics: Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Packaging Design

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