In this day and age of the hurry-up-and-get-this-done-for-me-yesterday mindset of the industry, it's imperative quality assurance procedures are not forfeited for the sake of meeting a potentially unrealistic deadline (or even a realistic one for that matter.) Too frequently, people obsess over the date on the calendar when, really, we need to turn a sharp-eye to the end product and ensure it will be relevant, impactful, understandable and free of errors.
We value our quality assurance measures and, even when in the hot seat, we do our best to ensure the proper parties complete the proper proofing. Just a few of our internal quality assurance processes include:
- Starting each project with a "workstart" to provide the key players with a download of client expectations, vision, budget, timing and the overall end goal.
- Create the "old-fashioned" way — with pencil and paper. Our team, even when proceeding directly to digital art, prefers to at least sketch their basic layout and thoughts first so that an immediate reaction, whether positive or negative, can be used to course-correct.
- Having internal reviews prior to sharing concepts with the client to fine-tune anything that may have been misinterpreted along the way.
- Each team member — from the Graphic Designer to the Creative Director, the Traffic Manager to the Production Manager, and yes, of course the Account team — reviews the concept against the end goal.
- Using separate copywriters and outside proofreaders on a project (you can’t very well look at your own work with an unbiased eye now can you — come on, be honest).
Since we take our quality and commitment to our clients seriously, we’ve begun implementing a higher level of quality assurance by developing client-specific style guides. The printed version of the guide serves as an overall checklist while proofing concepts for logo marks, client-specific jargon, taglines and any other "watch-out-for" items.
Additionally, the digital version of the guide is being built directly into our InDesign files or as HTML web pages with client specific templates or CSS that encompass color builds, logo artwork, font sizes and leading (heading, body, etc.) and customized client-driven dictionaries.
These are just a few of the measures that we take in order to provide our clients with the best possible deliverable.
What quality measures are in place at your company? How do you review the final product? Remember, it could be the difference between a great piece and this.