How to Manage a Creative Project

You’ve probably seen quite a few marketing materials such as brochures, websites and ads that are dull, uninspiring, and worst of all, confusing.

Good copywriting and graphic design create powerful communications with your market. They help a creative vision and message resonate with your audience.

Having talented writers and designers is the first step. But not everyone is trained in how to manage a creative project, which is the most important key to success.

A well managed and executed creative project should produce marketing and sales materials that:

  • Reinforce your value proposition
  • Evoke your brand
  • Convey your messages in a meaningful, memorable way
  • Improve response and ROI for your campaign

How to manage a creative project

Writers and designers can have broad or very focused skill sets. For example, a writer may specialize in web copy, technical writing, advertising copy or sales letters. Graphic designers may focus on web design, logos, flash design for online campaigns or print design. Agencies may offer a variety of services, but they can also be just as specialized.

When you create literature or other creative projects, you’re making a substantial investment. By using the right people and managing your project effectively, you’ll maximize your chance for success.

Best Case Neutral Case Worst Case
Your creative is powerful; your copy and design communicates your objectives simply and in a memorable way.

Your market “gets it” quickly and is eager to learn more, creating more opportunity for your brand.

Your creative is average.

Your copy may be wordy or not that exiting, and your design ho-hum, but they’re not substantially different than what your competitors create. They accomplish what they need to but could be better.

Naturally the worst case scenario is that your copy is poorly written and your design unappealing.

These materials give a negative impression of your brand and your prospects choose your competitors over you.

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How to Manage a Creative Project Key Concepts & Steps

Before you begin

You’ll need your brand strategy and messages for any creative project. If you’re creating sales literature, you’ll need to understand how it fits with your sales process; if the project is part of a marketing campaign, make sure you’ve finished your strategy and goals so the piece can support them.

Create a creative project timeline

Provide a reasonable amount of time between each step so each team member can deliver on schedule. The earlier you get started, the better your results.

Determine what content will be in the piece

Content should drive the design, not the reverse. If you start with design and try to fill in content later, the piece may not be nearly as effective. Identify the copy, graphics, photos or charts you’ll need in your piece before starting the design process.

Use a creative brief

A creative brief is an overview for a project. It can be simple or lengthy depending on the complexity of the project and the amount of background information your team needs. A good creative brief defines

  • Deadlines
  • Goals including the action you want the recipients to take after seeing the piece
  • Audience
  • Content
  • Background information about the product, service, audience, company, etc.
  • Branding requirements including the desired color palette, logo usage, fonts, etc.

Establish criteria for the designers

It’s much easier to evaluate design concepts when you have specific criteria to measure against. Establish that criteria upfront so your design team understands what they need to deliver, then use that criteria to choose concepts and provide feedback.

Pay attention to proofs and the press check

Make sure you have a very thorough review process in place – a typo in an ad or brochure can be an expensive and embarrassing error. And conduct a thorough press check so your printed materials completely match your requirements and vision; you wouldn’t want your brochure printed on the wrong paper or your colors to be mismatched.

After Completing Your Creative Project

Keep looking for good copywriters and graphic designers. With a good team of resources, you’ll have someone to call no matter what type of project you dream up.

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