This document outlines Imarc’s creative process and deliverables. Imarc is a full service web development and design firm with offices near Boston and Silicon Valley.

Goals

The goal of all creative work is to transmit a clear and memorable message that connects with its audience in a positive manner. We strive for simplicity at every level of our process, and believe everything connects better the simpler it is.

We aim to help a brand stand up a little taller, stay in someone’s mind a little longer, and ultimately connect with its audience.

Process

The creative process, at its heart, can be broken down into three main steps:

Process

Discover: Understand the core objectives and business goals.
Create: Turn a conceptual idea into a design solution.
Iterate: Refine our design until we reach the best solution.

The process begins after the functional and strategic requirements are documented and approved, with an internal handoff between the Strategy and Creative teams. In cases where a Strategist’s involvement is not necessary, work will begin directly after the project kickoff. All projects should have a well-defined goal, time budget, and deliverables.

Team Members and Roles

During large-scale creative engagements, the ideal team consists of:

Producer
Sets high-level milestones; Consults on spec and creative deliverables; Coordinates all deliverables and meetings; Creates and assigns tickets for actionable deliverables and tasks
Designer
The visionary and driving force behind all design; Sets day-to-day tasks and due dates for creative team; Responsible for presenting deliverables and adhering to timeline; Delegates tasks to other team members
Copywriter
Shapes the tone and message
Strategist
Leads the strategic discovery and work; Is included on brand discovery; May participate in design reviews
UX Engineer
Works with the designer to ensure consistency is upheld during the build out phase
Engineer
Handles engineering tasks and/or research, delegated by the Designer; Build out the design to match how it was envisioned by the Designer; Adhere to web best practices established by UX Engineers

Designers stick with the project even after the creative phase is complete—just because a composition is approved does not mean the job is done. Designers both review and assist in building Imarc projects. This ensures consistency throughout the full duration of the project, shepherding the vision established during the creative phase.

Discovery Activities

Depending on budget and goals, a number of research activities may be incorporated into a project.

General Creative Discovery

Objective
Define project goals, design objectives, design limitations, competitors, brand guidelines (if applicable) and success metrics
Tasks
Meet with stakeholders to review the overall goals of the project, specific brand guidelines that need to be followed, and problems that can be solved through design.
Time Req
8–12 hours

For projects such as websites and applications, a designer will lead client stakeholders through creative discovery . The project Producer, Designer, and UX Engineer should also participate.

This starts with a 60-minute conference call or meeting with the client stakeholder team (typically 2–5; larger teams will require more time). Imarc and the client team discuss the company history, project goals, design goals, current brand guidelines (if applicable) and metrics for success.

Imarc’s Designer will lead stakeholders through a series of pre-selected benchmark websites based on their visual design, client vertical, functionality and other design related features. This exercise sparks conversations around design that gives Imarc’s creative team insight into the visual direction they should head.

Topics include:

Brand Immersion

Objective
Understand a brand’s values, positioning, perception, visual identity, and any existing guidelines. This is used when there is an extensively defined and established brand that the Imarc team should “live and breathe”.
Tasks
Meet with brand stakeholders to review values, positioning, perception, visual identity, and any guidelines currently in use.
Time Req
8–90 hours

This typically starts with an in-depth conference call or meeting with the client’s brand stakeholders. Imarc and the client team discuss the project goals, their current brand values, positioning, perception, audience, and any guidelines currently available.

Topics include:

Brand Shaping

Objective
To enhance, expand and/or form a brand identity.
Tasks
Imarc’s creative team will lead brand stakeholders through exercises targeted at gathering key information associated with the brand.
Time Req
12–14 hours

For projects such as re-branding or the creation of a fresh new brand, a concise and focused discovery process can be highly effective. This will require a dedicated Designer, Strategist and possibly a Copywriter.

This starts with a 90-minute conference call or meeting with the brand stakeholder team (typically 2–5). Imarc and the client team discuss the project goals, their current brand values, positioning, perception, audience, and any guidelines currently available.

Next, Imarc’s Creative team will lead the brand stakeholders thought a card sort exercise where they will organize various brand descriptors into different categories. These categories will help define the current brand perception and how Imarc’s Creative Team should prioritize descriptors.

Topics include:

Photography/Video Discovery

Objective
Understand and define the overall tone and message custom photographs or video should have.
Tasks
Meet with stakeholders to review the goals of custom photography or video, define what needs to be captured and a establish timeline for the shoot.
Deliverables
Photography shot list or Video storyboard, and approved visual style.
Time Req
6–18 hours

For projects such requiring custom photography or video, it’s important to establish the overall tone, look, and feel before capturing the subject matter. Imarc’s creative team will work with stakeholders to define the visual “look” that the photos or video will have as well as define the shot list (photography) or storyboard (video) of what needs to be captured during the shoot.

Topics include:

Creative Deliverables

During the creative process, we’ll refer to and create a number of deliverables. Not all deliverables are needed for every project. The most common are described here.

Proposal

A proposal is created by Business Development and is ultimately a sales tool. It defines the project scope, suggests features and functionality, and typically includes a great deal of background research and client goals. Every Creative participant should read these proposals in their entirety.

Mood Boards

Summary
Mood boarding is a design exploration that leverages color palettes, stylized photography, typography, iconography, and patterns to develop a look and feel within a unified concept. In other words, an educated rough design that attempts to visualize what a client is asking for.
Deliverables
2–3 cohesive design solutions rooted in a unified concept that visually contrast each other.
Time Required
16–18 hours

Mood boards can be extremely useful for resolving design ambiguity. If a client has a hard time articulating their design aesthetic, mood boards can help them understand and define it. They also can be helpful for:

User Interface Design (“comp”)

Summary
A User Interface Design is a high fidelity composition, static visualization of what the website will eventually look like once built. We refer to this as a “comp”.
Time Required
16-18 hours per page or screen

A user interface design composition (or “comp”) is a high-fidelity visualization of the website or application. It’s a cohesive visual look and feel applied to content in order to bring clarity and enhance the overall experience. An effective comp will bring form and function together into one effective communication.

A User Interface should clearly:

Brand Identity

Summary
The overall visual aesthetic used to represent a brand. Identity systems are a package of visual components, style guidelines and used as a framework to ensure the corporate image is cohesive and consistent.
Time Required
80–120 hours

The identity of a brand is made up of more than just colors, typefaces, imagery, logo and slogan. It’s a visual reflection of everything a company does, owns, and produces that helps reinforce value. The Brand Identity of a company is made up of many visual devices:

Photography

Summary
On-site digital photography performed by Imarc’s in house Creative staff to showcase your company, product, event, or culture.
Time Required
Half Day Shoot: 28–32 hours (Includes post processing) Full Day Shoot: 40–50 hours (Includes post processing)

Imarc will set up a half day or full day shoot depending on the subject matter to be photographed. Imarc is available for shooting corporate headshots, advertising photography, product photography, landscape photography, still life photography, and event photography.

Key Elements:

Videography

Summary
On-site digital videography performed by Imarc’s in house Creative staff to showcase your company, product, event, or culture while telling a compelling narrative.
Time Required
Half Day Shoot: 60–80 hours (Includes post processing and editing)   Shoot: 4 hours x 3 Creatives = 12 hours   Post Production = 48 - 68 Hours Full Day Shoot: 80–100 hours (Includes post processing and editing)  Shoot: 8 hours x 3 Creatives = 24 hours  Post Production = 56 - 76 Hours

Imarc will set up a half day or full day video shoot depending on the subject matter you need camptured. Imarc is available for capturing corporate events, product demos, testimonials, interviews, and advertisements. Generally, 3 in- house creatives will be on site for the shoot handling video, lighting and audio capture.

Key Elements:

Motion Graphics

Summary
Motion graphics are any video visual that is not shot in camera.
Time Required
60–80 hours per minute of animation

The use of motion or animation can bring your content to life and keep your customers engaged. The best motion graphics are under a minute, as that’s the optimal time to keep peoples attention.

Key Elements:

TODO: Add Examples: Agdata, WGBY, Anna Jaques

Tools

Imarc’s creative team has standardized on certain applications and file formats to ensure a smooth internal workflow and exchange of deliverables. While most of Imarc’s designers use Macs, the Adobe Creative Suite runs on Windows as well.

Adobe Indesign and Adobe Illustrator are used to create all print materials, including print templates. We use Illustrator for logo work.

Adobe Photoshop is used for designing static mood boards and pixel-based designs such as user interfaces. Adobe Illustrator is leveraged for vector elements such as icons and artwork.

We use Full-Frame DSLR cameras to capture subjects. Still photography is post processed in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and all video footage is treated and edited in Adobe Premier. We use Adobe After Effects to create motion graphics and special effects.

Since HTML and CSS are simple text files, any editor can be used. We like Sublime Text and Coda. Similarly, any SFTP or Subversion tool is allowable. We like Transmit for file transfer, and Cornerstone or Versions for Subversion.

Document History

This section lists major updates only. For a complete history, see the document history on GitHub.