When one of my favorite clients contacted me last minute on a Friday about working on an invitation for their new Lawyers for Libraries program, I said, "SURE!". The catch was, they needed it done yesterday. I threw everything aside and threw all hands (well, two hands) on deck to make sure that they got it designed well, and on time.
Typically when I begin the design process, I take the most time during the first stage. I refer to it as the conceptual stage, it's the most critical, most creative stage of my design process. Normally, I'll sketch some ideas in my sketch book. I'll think about the client's design needs for a few days. Basically, I do everything I can to give the ideas time to just flow. But, this project had such a tight turnaround, I didn't have that luxury.
Of course, I still wanted this invitation to look fantastic! So, I dove right onto the computer and worked up some digital sketches. Basically, when I do this, I work on lay out ideas as quickly as possible, moving on to the next one when hit a dead end on the one I am working on. This yields a whole slew of really horrible looking ideas, but it also leads a few potential winners.
For this project, I ended up with three potential designs. One very conservative, one very "out there," and one a happy medium. Eureka, we had our winner! Now, to discuss the three designs:
The design on the left, the most conservative, is informative, and visually appealing. But, it is also very "safe." It's very straight-forward, and looks a little template-y, in other words--no surprises with this one. Because this is an invitation, MPL will want something eye catching, obviously the goal of this project is to get lots of people to attend the event.
The middle design is unexpected. But, I considered the audience, nothing at all against lawyers, but perhaps this one is better suited for a concert crowd. It could be dismissed as non-professional, the font is a little hipster, the composition a little jarring.
The design on the right, is a good mix of straight-forward, and also unexpected. The design is easy to follow, it's bold and eye-catching. There are still unexpected elements, such as the color choice and the header font, but it will appeal to the intended audience, and catch their attention. You might notice that the scales of justice are not included in this design. After working through the first two designs (and several other messy designs not pictured), I began to feel as if the scales of justice were a little cliché and expected. I decided that I could include the book illustration, and cover both bases--they could easily be law books, but obviously libraries also have books. And since the event is called Lawyers for Libraries, why not cover both bases in one illustration. The end result is a cleaner design, and a narrower focus for the viewer's eye.
Here's hoping that lots of lovely lawyers attend this fantastic Milwaukee Public Library event!