If you’re a growing visual or UX designer who wants to deliver your best work, paying close attention to quality and detail is key.
In order to help folks at Think Company work with their teams to deliver work that is thorough, free of errors, and as high quality as possible, some of our current Design Leads collaborated on the following checklist. Keep a copy handy for your next design project.
- Capture thorough notes during meetings and calls so that you can refer back to them later. Be sure to note who said what, and in what context. These facts will become important later on when the details of a conversation are less clear in your mind.
- Don’t rely on others to take notes unless you are actively presenting during the meeting—and be sure it’s clear before the meeting who is responsible for taking notes.
- Set expectations about the form and content of shared notes, too. This can save time and frustration after a meeting.
- During all project touchpoints, keep track of (and quickly follow up with) clarifying questions you might have to be sure you fully understand the project and associated tasks. Always eliminate ambiguity by discussing your assumptions with others on the team. It’s better to ask for clarity early.
- If there is any task you aren’t sure how to complete, ask for additional direction. Your manager or Design Lead is there to help you find a path forward.
- Be mindful of deadlines, but don’t rush through the work. It’s better to communicate early about exploring deadline pushes than to be silent and deliver sub-par work.
Knowing Your Audience and Goals:
- Read all documentation, reference materials, design briefs, and notes thoroughly before starting on tasks. This will help you dive into your work with focus and clear goals in mind.
- When working on a design artifact, stop frequently to think about who you’re designing for as well as how the finished work will be presented, delivered, or consumed.
- Document your design decisions and provide an explanation with each iteration so that you (and in turn, your manager and clients) are able to clearly articulate and remember the thinking that informed your choices.
- Similarly, stop to make sure the designs you’re going to present actually match the original purpose statement or goals for the project. It can be easy throughout the course of a project to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the big picture.
Checking Your Work:
- Always manage your files, layers, and symbols using the agreed-upon folder structure, file naming, and versioning system. If a system doesn’t already exist on your team, think about developing one. This will keep everyone organized and help to ensure that old errors don’t creep back in to new versions.
- Read through all comments and feedback in context and create a checklist for yourself. Be sure you’ve addressed each point before sending the work back for the next review.
- If possible, establish a rule that at least one other designer looks at your work before you share it with a client.
- Always double-check (and triple-check, if necessary) your work for common errors before submitting each iteration for review:
- Incorrect grammar, punctuation, or capitalization
- Incorrect or inconsistent terminology
- Spacing and alignment issues
- Stray objects and layers
- Typography that includes foot marks or inch marks instead of true apostrophes and quotes. Also, check whether an apostrophe is facing the correct way. This is a small but telling detail.