How Long Does a Project Take?
Successful projects are a result of realistic timelines. We want to get the project done right, not just get the project done.
Timelines are important for everyone, but establishing the right timeline is most important. Now, what do we mean by the right timeline? The right timeline provides enough time for intentful design and meaningful feedback while still moving along at an efficient clip. It also provides enough time for content creation and collection, an often underestimated amount of time.
The budget is for 40 hours; why will it take 30 days to finish?
Let’s use the example of working on a logo design. Whether it’s a logo for a new company, an update to an existing logo, or a logo to entirely replace an old one, our first step is to gather background information on what the company is about, where it wants to go, what it’s culture is like, and our client’s insights/opinions on a logo design. We also take the time to look at what the competition is doing to make sure a client’s logo stands out.
From there, the designers begin with rough sketches of concepts to get into a groove with where the project needs to go. We aim to have one to three designers present several ideas internally before selecting the concepts to move into the design stage. These concepts are crafted and presented to the client for feedback. Typically, we schedule in 48 hours for clients to provide us feedback on each checkpoint. This gives clients time to review internally as well as have time to step away from the design and then come back for second or third impressions.
With concise, action-oriented feedback from the client, our design team begins refinements to the selected logo. The refinements could be adjustments to the typography, tweaks to an icon, changes in color, or similar updates. After the refinements, the logo goes back to the client for a second round of feedback.
Again the designers make adjustments, and the logo is sent a final time to the client for approval. After approval, we create a visual brand guide outlining how to use the logo appropriately with colors, sizes, clear space, and typography. This too is sent to the client for a round of feedback plus a final approval. Then, with both the logo and the brand guide approved, we package the files and ship them off to the client for use.
Whew! There’s a lot to it isn’t there? The time can go fast with the design work and feedback exchanges with the client, but each step is necessary to get a quality product that meets the client’s needs. The back and forth with refinements allows us to work with clients — not just for clients — to produce the right end product.
Does G&M have a set timeline for projects?
Since each project and client is unique, so is each timeline. Here are just a few factors that affect timeline:
Length of Time for Client Feedback
Our base turnaround is 48 hours. Some clients, however, need longer times in order to request feedback from a larger internal team or because of their heavy schedules. When this is identified at the start of the project, it is easy to accommodate for this and plan accordingly.We have also had a few clients request shorter turnarounds of 24 hours to make a tight timeline fit. This takes diligent adherence to the schedule since there is no wiggle room; we have had only a few clients successfully able to maintain this rigorous scheduling. One that was able to meet this with flying colors and great success was Twitch.
For website and print collateral, content is key. For website redesigns, copy and images can often be repurposed with only a few updates. In some cases, however, all new copy and images are needed, and this can take a significant amount of time to create. There are two ways to address this creation: 1) Revise content and complete a photo shoot prior to starting the official project, or 2) coordinate copywriter’s/photographer’s schedules to parallel early phases in the project (flowchart/wireframes) to be ready in time for the design phase.
It is important to establish the approval structure from the start. If the primary contact person for the project is not the final approver, it is important to account for the added time for additional checkpoints with the approver — which may be a team needing to come to consensus.
In the end, it all comes down to a combination of what a client needs, our schedules, and the best planning we can do to accommodate for those unpredictable — but always expected — hiccups.