Hotwash 101: Six steps to an amazing design product.

Things you should always do before, during and after any assignment. It might take more time, but it will save you in the long run.
1) Make sure you have all of the files you need first off. This could include a style guide, hex # colors, images, copy, logos, and any additional information before you start a project.

2) Never underestimate the power of a good sketchbook and a pencil. It’s a good idea to throw together a quick sketch or 5 of what you think your layout will look like. Then pick your favorite one, and whip out a quick digital rough draft layout.

3) Next, make a detailed checklist of EVERYTHING that will need to be included in the design. Include ALL info gathered from EVERY method of communication:
* Word docs, pdfs, power points, emails, messages, texts, tweets, slack, what ever the format.

Tip: PRINT it all out. As you work your way through your design, adding in all of the content, mark it off of your list. This is a gratifying feeling.

As you add in all of your other content, make sure headers, logos, and place holder text are in the exact fonts you will use. Verify that all of your content is in place before proceeding to share this with your superior. It’s best to get their buy in on your design and make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, before proceeding to specifics like the body copy and details of the design.

Hot wash photo

4) This is the longest and most tedious step. Once you get the thumbs up, insert your copy and tweak, tweak, tweak. Don’t ever, EVER send a superior, your “first draft.” Walk away, get a coffee or sleep on it if time allows. But hit the drawing board again. Round two will ALWAYS be better. Print it out, and read it out loud to your self. It’s amazing how bad something can sound once you’ve read it out loud.

Only send the first version (V1):
* ALL elements of your CHECKLIST have been added
* Check for font consistency throughout the entire document.
* Run spell check at least three times,
* Print and visually proof everything.
* Beg, borrow and plead if you have to. But having someone else look over your work before submitting it, is quite possibly the most important step you could ever take for yourself and your design reputation.

5) Finally, you will get feedback, need to make any suggested edits. Treat these edits as would your check list. Again, print it out, and mark them off the list once they are completed. Then you re-proof your work.

6) Now you are ready to share the second version; which by the way should pretty much be the Final Version.

After that, only minor adjustments or happy to glads should be needed. Things move quickly in design, and the less back and forth, the better. Shoot for more attention to detail, double and triple checking your work and always use your “Things to include”check lists. Doing these specific and tedious things will ensure your final product, design reputation, and work ethic are the absolute best they can be.




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