Praxismodul 1 SoSe

Graphic Design I – Communication and Project Management

The script for Praxismodul 1 is intended exclusively for use in class at the University of Applied Arts and should serve as a reference work for all course participants. It may not be passed on to third parties.

Welcome to the Praxismodul Graphic Design I.

As you can see from the information in the Base, we will be looking at the basics of the graphic design workflow. The focus of consideration will be on communication and project execution. The subtitle of the course ‘From Briefing to Press Proof’ reveals what is meant by this. In concrete terms, we will learn about essential structures and processes in graphic design, using the creation of a simple flyer as an example. And we will also learn the most important vocabulary of the respective technical jargons in order to gain confidence in dealing with the various project participants.


Graphic design in the broadest sense is no longer a specialized science, practiced by a few professionals with relevant training, but has become accessible to many through the establishment of what can be described by a somewhat antiquated but more than ever accurate term as desktop publishing.

However, it is not enough to be creative and to be able to use the technological infrastructure to realize successful design. It is at least as important to know the industry sectors, to understand project workflows and to be able to manage communication processes.

Even the creation of a simple flyer, as we will undertake here in the workshop, sometimes involves numerous different industry sectors: Graphic design, text, photography, art buying, image editing, illustration, reprographics and printing are the areas that need to be integrated in such a project.

Today, some of these tasks can be handled by the graphic designer in person. But absolute universalists are not to be found in the largest advertising agencies, nor among the lone wolves. Division of labor largely prevails and makes sense for many reasons.

A project neither sets itself up nor progresses on its own.

The central player in the creation and production process, in our case the graphic designer, must plan and drive the project, must ensure that the flow of communication and data is directed into the right channels at the right time, must calculate, initiate and monitor the contributions of the various service providers.

Unfortunately not awesome, but necessary.


Crucial to the successful completion of a project is active communication between the client, the graphic designer and the service providers in production. In order to communicate properly, it is necessary to understand the sometimes very different languages of the individual industry sectors. As a result, the graphic designer, as the central person, must speak not only “graphic”, but also “marketing”, “photographic” and “repro”.

Even if the workflows are merging more and more, even if semi-automation is already taking hold here and there, even if everyone involved is moving closer together virtually, understanding each other is still something that has to be worked on. If I don’t know what makes my client tick, what makes my industry partners tick, and what needs to be done to ensure a smooth project flow, the project will go wrong.

Graphic design jobs can be very different. What they all have in common is to run within a certain framework and at a certain speed. There’s an overarching workflow scheme, i.e., a chronological sequence, a specific order, certain steps that can’t be skipped. There is an eye on profitability and timing.

Being able to move securely within this framework is just as important for handling a customer order as it is for creation on one’s own.

Creativity can only unfold freely if the terrain on which it takes place is free of linguistic, organizational and technical barriers.

Tasks of the client

In order to get the design process going at all, certain preliminary work must be done by the client. The wish alone is a weak starting point.

Allocation of tasks 

First, it must be clearly determined where the dividing line lies in the division of labor between marketing and graphic design. 

Classic advertising agencies of various orientations certainly offer marketing services or support in various aspects such as market observation, brand development and management, positioning, sales promotion, media planning and the like. But also graphic designers without agency connection bring their experience into these topics. However, their contribution is usually limited to providing an outside perspective, which is so important for marketing. As a rule, these tasks are performed by the marketing managers themselves.

If the distribution of tasks between graphic design and marketing is not clearly defined, this can lead to incalculable developments: The graphic designer takes over marketing agendas and/or the marketing manager starts designing. This rarely works out well.

So what are the questions that the marketing manager or the client has to answer in advance?

Question catalog

What do I want to achieve?

The first step is to formulate the goal. The client must develop market and product strategies and define marketing and communication goals.

Who do I want to reach?

In every communication process, there is an addressee. The better the target group is defined, the sharper the graphic design can focus on it.

Which communication channels should be used?

It is necessary to determine which media are to be used (print media, Internet, etc.) or in which places and in which setting I want to apply my message (public space, POS, POC, etc.).

With what and how do I want to achieve communication goal?

Which advertising media come into question? Is a simple flyer enough, should it be a brochure, is a sales sheet enough, do I try a direct mail, do I use the leverage of a raffle or any incentives. Do I take measures above-the-line (ATL), i.e. in the field of classic advertising, or below-the-line (BTL), such as PR, product placements, promotions, sampling, event or guerrilla marketing, etc.?

As a marketing manager, what do I have to contribute?

In addition to a briefing that is as complete as possible, other measures of various kinds must be taken. What materials can I contribute? What course do I have to set internally and externally? What are my tasks during the creation and production process and beyond?

Contribution of the client


The briefing contains all the necessary information for the graphic designer. More on this later.


Materials that can be included with the briefing: existing text blocks, images, illustrations, branding materials such as logos, pack shots, signets, the CD manual if one exists, product samples, and more).


Marketing operations are usually closely intertwined with production and sales operations. The supply chain, in the most comprehensive sense, must be kept in mind, the logistical framework (transfer of goods and timings) must be defined. 

The budget framework for the project must be created in good time. Media planning has to be done, i.e. ads have to be booked, distribution plans have to be created etc.


The client must ensure that the project is accompanied. Capacities must be created in the company and project officers must be appointed. The hierarchy and the framework for decision-making must be clearly defined, i.e. decision-making power must be clearly assigned to a responsible person. 

The graphic designer will be grateful if she has to deal with only one real contact person on the client side and if decisions can be made by this person in a timely and irrevocable manner.

Tasks such as process monitoring, i.e. observing the timing, processes and cost development are just as much a part of the project as competent design assessment, the granting of approvals, editing, proofreading or also the clarification of legal aspects and much more.

Of course, clients are not always companies with independent marketing departments and complex structures. But even if it’s just a flyer for a friend or a simple direct mail for customer acquisition, the above-mentioned list of questions must be worked through. The answers to these important questions will then perhaps be less extensive, but just as decisive for the success of the project.

Only when these and related questions have been largely clarified can the client formulate the brief.


In the so-called briefing, the client wants to inform the graphic designer about all essential aspects of the project. In a briefing meeting, clear objectives are defined, the project framework is established, and backgrounds and contexts are explained.

For complex tasks, it is essential that the briefing takes place face-to-face. In a short conversation, initial ambiguities can already be eliminated, and the first course can be set. 

Design decisions should not yet be made during the briefing meeting.

In any case, the briefing must also be written down. This ultimately serves as a safeguard for both the client and the graphic designer.

The briefing is essentially fed by the results of the preliminary work done by the client. Of course, the scope of the briefing depends on the complexity of the job. In any case, the briefing should provide the answers to the list of questions already discussed and, in addition, all the necessary materials.

Components of the briefing

Typical briefing components can be …

  • Objectives: marketing plans, sales goals, etc.
  • Specifications: Mandatories, corporate design, brand design, etc.
  • Market and product information: Market segment, product category, etc.
  • Target group definition: demographic, sociological, age groups etc.
  • Means of communication: advertising media, advertising form etc.
  • Medium: communication channels, media plans etc.
  • Material and content: Text modules, images, logos etc.
  • Ideas and design suggestions: Samples, hand sketches etc.
  • Format, size, number of copies, delivery to where etc.
  • Production specifications: preferred production locations or processes etc.
  • Time frame: rough outline of timing, deadlines, etc.
  • Cost framework: Budget requirements, cost centers, etc.

Such and similar information can be submitted in the form of a simple e-mail, PDF or Word file. The required material is attached, made available via download link or provided on data carriers.

Of course, in practice, not everything can always be known and transmitted from the beginning. However, the customer must be aware that late delivery of information and material can be a costly and time-consuming factor.

  • Briefings, as mentioned, can vary widely in scope and execution. 
  • With too little information, the graphic designer can hardly succeed in getting ground under her feet. Creativity needs at least a few basic pieces of information to condense on.
  • Too much information, on the other hand, is often a hindrance because it stifles the creative process before it has even begun.

First steps

After the briefing, the graphic designer first views and checks the material received.

Then the first research steps are taken:

  • The graphic designer familiarizes herself with job-relevant market realities.
  • She tries to track down industry peculiarities.
  • She explores the parameters of the product category and the brand itself.
  • She researches the corresponding design worlds.

The field in which the design is to unfold must be explored.

One of the most interesting aspects of graphic design is that you are always learning about new and often completely different market and social sectors just by doing your research assignments.


Once you have a picture of the assignment and have perhaps already secretly developed initial approaches and ideas, it’s time for the rebriefing.

In the rebriefing, ambiguities of the briefing are addressed and cleared up, and missing data is requested. We make sure that we have understood everything correctly and carry out a further comparison of information. 

If necessary, the graphic designer must now also have the courage to question the customer’s request or partial aspects of it. It is possible to address initial ideas or development directions at this early stage. And you try to find out which lines can be followed and where nogos lie for the customer.

The rebriefing usually takes the form of an informal discussion. What was discussed should be written down by the graphic designer in concise words and sent to the client via email.

Now let’s take a look at the briefing for our exercise example and try to figure out a few aspects that should be addressed during the rebriefing.

From Erika Mustermann – Campari
Date: 0000-00-00
Briefing Flyer/Beverage Card – Campari Drinks

– Creation of a flyer/drinks menu
– Campari mixed drinks campaign „Inspiration”
– DIN A6
– 2 pages
– circulation 2.500 pieces
– Mandatories: Campari logo, Campari CD, Packshot Campari soda, Drinkshots
– Provided material: Campari logo, Campari CD manual
– Photoshoot: Campari soda bottle, Campari soda drink, Campari orange drink
– Execution with appetite appeal, high quality, playful lightness
– Completion by end of workshop
– Request for quote incl. shooting and production costs

Flyer elements
Front page
Fig.: Campari logo; visualization with regard to a planned mixed drinks campaign with the tagline “Inspiration”.
Back page
Visuals: Campari logo; Packshot Campari soda bottle; Drinkshots Campari soda drink and Campari orange drink.
Text: Drink recipes; text with regard to a planned mixed drinks campaign with the hook “Inspiration”.

What questions, for instance, would still need to be answered in a catchy rebriefing?

  • We will definitely try to find out more about the ATL Campari mixed drinks campaign. What is the background, marketing objectives, advertising channels (TV, ads, etc.)?
  • Are there already design elements and graphic approaches that can be used for the flyer as well?
  • Are there preferred photographers for the shoot?
  • Do preferred production channels exist. Some large companies use the services of print agencies or use their own design-to-print workflow.

The successfully completed rebriefing is usually the kick-off signal for the actual work on the design to begin.

Concept and project planning


The research is now being driven forward. The search is on for comparative examples, design worlds are explored, relevant design compendiums are leafed through, and the world is traversed with eyes wide open.

First scribbles

The first ideas for the design of the flyer are recorded in the form of scribbles, i.e. simple hand sketches. Try to work as freely as possible. Too early definition is a big obstacle on the way to the “Big Idea”.

We shorten the creation phase and simply look at the hand sketch that will eventually become our flyer.


Strictly speaking, there is only one element in our hands at this stage: the Campari logo. All the other parts, captured in the hand sketch, have to be made first.

  • Derived from the concept and the idea, the texts of the back page have to be created: Headline (wavy line), Copy (horizontal strokes) and Recipe details (blocks of horizontal strokes).
  • We have to shoot three photos: The two drink shots and the pack shot of the Campari soda bottle.
  • And we have to illustrate the “inspiration cloud” of the front page.

Division of labor

If the graphic designer doesn’t have the skills herself to do copywriting, photography, photo editing and illustration in addition to the graphic work, then these tasks need to be outsourced to the respective professionals.

As a graphic designer, you need to be aware of these and similar things before you make an offer. If possible, the individual offers of the professionals should be included in the overall offer. And the desired division of labor has a significant influence on the process planning.

It is therefore important at this early stage to evaluate the most important key data of the overall process and to coordinate the various work steps.

Even such a simple example as the creation of a flyer can therefore become a complex task under certain circumstances. To illustrate this, let’s just take a look at the different specialists that can be involved here.

Client side: marketing director, marketing manager, PR strategist, editor

Agency side: contact person, budget director, creative director, copywriter, art director, graphic designer, photographer, image editor, illustrator, art buyer, final artwork artist, proofreader

Production side: print consultant, repro house, printer, bindery, shipping logistician

If we convert this list into a workflow schema, the whole thing looks like this …

Workflow scheme

Now, when unfolded, this may look a bit wild and is also completely overkill for our mini-job. Nevertheless, the schema shown is valuable for us because it shows the minimum number of participants in addition to a maximum number:

  • There is always a client.
  • There is always someone who does the creative part.
  • There is always someone who does the production part.

In a typical graphic design job, there are at least three people involved: the client, the graphic designer and the production consultant. However, there can be many more people involved in the process.

The graphic design workflow is characterized by successiveness, which is due to both the workflow and the division of labor. The greater the division of labor, the greater the risk that connections will be missed, that the individual workflows will not mesh seamlessly, that the process will sometimes stall.

To counteract this cost-driving danger, two important measures are taken in project planning.

  • The first is to talk to the potential participants at an early stage. You try to clarify availability and identify hidden technical obstacles.
  • Secondly, a certain time buffer is built in for each step when creating a schedule. This is the only way to manage the imponderables.

All responsible parties involved in the project, from the marketing director to the shipping logistician include small buffers in their timings, and they do well. I can assure you, most of the buffers gradually dissolve into nothing and the time pressure gets bigger and bigger.

You only have a chance to finish the project in time if a realistic schedule with buffers is defined, if all participants know their tasks and their point of deployment and, if the most important people always keep an eye on the progress of the overall process.

As soon as the raw concept has been created, the processes have been projected and a rough timing has been established, one can start to prepare a preliminary offer, i.e. to submit a cost estimate.


Why preliminary?

Because even seemingly simple jobs can turn into real monsters. It is not always possible to track down all the pitfalls right from the start.

  • There are hidden time traps and costs somewhere.
  • Process-related or contingent delays occur. 
  • Individual players have miscalculated or overestimated their own capabilities.
  • At the beginning of the layout phase, projects can still take unexpected turns. 

A definitive offer can therefore only be made once the design decision has been made on the client’s side, i.e. as soon as it has been determined which of the concept and design variants presented will actually be developed.

Nevertheless, the client must already be informed of a plausible cost framework at this early stage. The client must ultimately create an appropriate budget item internally. The preliminary offer is therefore already binding to a certain extent.


Now let’s see what components the offer can contain.

The structure of an offer depends strongly on the degree of division of labor. In our workshop, we assume that the graphic designer has direct contact with the client and has the additional services required, such as photo, litho, illu and print, provided by partners in her network.

Typical offer components then look like this …

Sample offer

The company data, date and serial number of the offer enable identification and assignment of the offer and are therefore indispensable.

Concept and consulting:

In our case, the graphic designer is of course also a consultant. She researches the market conditions and design worlds, develops a concept based on the findings and, derived from this, various design proposals. She presents the design proposals, sets up the entire process and accompanies and monitors it over the full distance.

Layouts and correction levels:

It is advisable to keep the number of design proposals low. Too many different proposals paralyze the decision-making process. Ideally, three layout proposals should be presented. The distribution could be staggered as follows:

  • LY1 represents the customer’s request 100%,
  • LY2 represents a further development of LY1 based on the research findings, and 
  • LY3 shows a progressive approach.

Final layout and correction stages:

In the final layout, all parts of the design are brought together and the final steps towards approval are taken. Especially textual corrections can still be made here.

Image processing in house:

High-end litho the graphic designer is usually left to a specialist trained for this purpose. However, everything that can be done in house, must also be shown in the own offer. The hourly rate for image editing is generally higher than that for classic graphic design.

Final artwork and preparation of print documents:

In order to perform these core tasks with a high degree of responsibility, the graphic designer needs basic repro-technical knowledge and a certain amount of printing experience. Of course, these services must also be paid for separately.

Communication, handling, archiving:

The lone fighter is not spared administrative tasks in the broadest sense. Of course, these peripheral tasks must also be included in the calculation.
Possible services that are not listed in the preliminary offer, but may occur, must be addressed.

External costs:

There are different ways of listing the external costs. It is a fact that some agencies still operate with hidden surcharges. Third-party quotes are then integrated into the agency quote and not communicated as such to the client.
I advocate to add external offers to the own offer and to charge the external costs 1:1.

Production and production monitoring:

In addition to printing costs, there may also be costs for production supervision by the graphic designer.

Material and transfer costs:

Materials and shipping costs are also a separate item in the quote. This is the only way to include them in the cost control.

Rights of use:

Graphic design is a creative service in the narrower sense. However, the practice of awarding contracts has developed in such a way that customers no longer accept payment for the rights of use for conventional graphic services.

From a legal point of view, however, the obligation to pay for the rights of use still exists and must therefore be stated in the offer. An agreement is reached with the client on the rights of use …

  • for a certain area of distribution 
  • for certain purposes and 
  • for a certain period of time. 

The offer must of course be made in writing. This is the only way to be able to correctly allocate any problems that may arise and to indemnify yourself in the event of a dispute.

Time recording

Determining the number of possible hours to work may not be accurate at this early stage, but it is important nonetheless. If no time limits are set, there is no way to be compensated for the excessive amount of time spent.

An indispensable tool for cost control will be the meticulous recording of time and effort by the graphic designer. After completion of the project, the results are compared with the information provided in the offer, thus enabling correct billing.

Best bidder principle

Quotations for one and the same job can vary greatly in practice. The level of costs is influenced, among other things, by weighing up the two reference points of quality and price. From the very beginning, a clear statement is required from the client: should it be cheap or should it be of high quality.

Neither the client nor the graphic designer should place orders according to the cheapest bidder principle.

Not only the scope of services, but also the depth of services, quality standards and reliability of the partner should be taken into account when assessing the costs. This is the only way to select the best bidder. And this does not mean that the highest offer always has to be the winner of the pitch, but it does not always mean that the lowest offer has to be the winner either.


All parties involved strive to clear up ambiguities in the offers at an early stage. The actual contract is not awarded until the bid has been approved. 

Any preparatory work done up to that point cannot normally be invoiced if the order is not placed.

Of course, it can happen that quotations are significantly exceeded due to unforeseeable project developments. In such cases, it is advisable to issue warnings at an early stage and to jointly seek solutions for further action.

Let us assume that we have received the final approval of the offer and thus the award of the contract. In a traditional advertising agency, the creative director and art director would now sit down to set the design directives.

In our small setting, the graphic designer reviews the material available or collected so far, deepens the design research again and tries to refine the concept.


Only when a few promising ideas have been formulated as scribbles and essential aspects have been captured is a layout document created in one of the relevant programs.

The task to be accomplished in the layout phase is to develop a binding design. 

Since the entire layout phase involves no fine-tuning, and sometimes even operates with placeholders and graphic hints, the work proceeds quickly. Variants can be created without too much effort, and corrections are usually straightforward. 

The uncomplicated nature of the layout process also has another positive effect. Because the losses due to change and discarding do not seem too great, one remains open to the discovery of the new. A true creative process needs this openness.

So the prime motto in layout is to invest less in the technical side of execution in order to create the necessary space on the creative side. 

Nevertheless, the possible final look must be visualized in a plausible and tangible way.
In the hands of the contact person on the customer’s side, the layout must be able to serve as an argument in its own favor, because the direct contact person is often not the decision-maker at all – he or she must present the layout in turn to the company.

A good way to keep the workflow simple and flexible in the layout phase is not to develop the designs across all the program environments needed to produce a final artwork.

For one- or two-page documents like our flyer, design development can certainly take place in Photoshop alone. For the time being, you forgo doing the illustration in Adobe Illustrator and creating a typesetting document in Adobe InDesign, and design the layout exclusively in Photoshop. This simplifies the work and reduces the time required immensely.

First drafts

So let’s start with the page outline in Adobe Photoshop.

> Start PSD.

> File / New: Print, View all presets: DIN A6 105 x 148 mm.

DIN A6 (105 x 148 mm) is the classic postcard format.

> Resolution: 300 ppi.

For small formats up to DIN A3 we set the image resolution to 300 dpi from the beginning. So we already handle images in print resolution. This allows us to take the layout images 1:1 into the final layout phase.

> Color Mode: RGB.

> Color Profile: Adobe RGB (1998).

Since the flyer is primarily intended to be printed, it is recommended to set Adobe RGB (1998) as the working color space. Adobe RGB (1998) is a standard RGB color space that is particularly well suited for later conversion to CMYK, i.e. to the printing colors.

If you want to learn more about color management, you can visit my workshop Photoshop for advanced users.

> Create.


The bleed, which makes it possible to print to the edge of the page, should also be created already in the PSD layout file. Creating the bleed is a simple but clever routine operation.

> Select All cmd+A.

> New Layer Via Copy cmd+J.

> Image / Canvas: enlarge W and H +6 mm each.

> Select layer content via cmd+click thumbnail, delete.

> Invert selection, fill border with white via option+backspace.

> Layer name “bleed”.

With this we have created the final format. The purpose of the masking bleed layer is to show the exact format during the layout phase.

Since we want the background to appear black, we immediately fill the background layer with Photoshop black.

> Set the foreground color/background color to black/white via the D key.

> Fill the background layer with Photoshop black.

With a first save we now create our layout file.

> File / Save as: “LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd”.


We pay attention to a clean, unique nomenclature when assigning file names. This facilitates the identification and assignment of documents in the course of the project.

Layouts are marked e.g. with LY or LO, levels by numbers and lower case letters. There are no guidelines for a binding nomenclature. However, one should not depart too far from established systems in order not to confuse other project participants.


Accurate naming still serves well in one’s own archive. This makes it easy to retrieve files and find the right version.

The Campari logo is so far the only element we can import into our layout file.

First, let’s get the exercise data from ownCloud and place it in a specific folder that we create within the semester folder.

All laptop users can of course freely choose the location for the exercise data on their device.

> Open Campari logo in Adobe Illustrator.

> Select Campari logo and paste via copy/paste into Photoshop as smart object.

> Name logo layer “Campari logo”.

Now let’s take another look at our scribble.


The Campari logo appears in two places, each in a different size. On the front, a small version of the logo accompanies the expansive illu; on the back, it forms a strong graphic element at the foot of the page. Let’s now place our smart object as intended for the front. 

> Freely transform via cmd+T.

> Scale and position in the lower left corner.

The exact position and size are irrelevant at this point.

In the input data folder (>ILLU) there is a file named “Campari-Illu_sw.jpg”.

> Open “Campari-Illu_sw.jpg” in Photoshop.

Conveniently, this is a raw illustration, which we will spare ourselves the task of creating here in the workshop. Whether raw illus are made by the graphic designer or already by the professional illustrator ultimately depends on the graphic designer’s drawing ability.

Raw illustration

How to approach the illustration?

First of all, the illu concept, which is very roughly indicated in the scribble, has to be defined more precisely. To do this, the graphic designer searches the web for elements that can be copied. One likes to search the catalogs of relevant image agencies, e.g.

The examples found then serve as templates for the production of a raw illu.

This path can only be followed if you already have a clear idea of the illu style at this point and have also mastered this style yourself to a certain degree as an illustrator.

Illu briefing

If neither the one, nor the other condition is fulfilled, one starts on the other hand with the research of the illu style. Here, too, you will usually find what you are looking for at the relevant picture agencies.

Once the content and style have been defined, you start looking for an illustrator who has the necessary skills to take on the job. If you don’t have a suitable illustrator in your own network, visit relevant illustrator platforms such as or, to name two Austrian ones.

Finally, you pack the sample images found on the web into an e-mail and send a brief request to the illustrator of your choice. In a telephone conversation or a short meeting, you clarify the key points of the briefing and then request a binding illustration quote.

We remember: The goal is to have collected all third-party offers before the first layout presentation in order to be able to create a binding overall offer.

Let’s start by setting up our raw illu in the layout file.

> Drag and drop Campari-Illu_sw to LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Name layer: “Campari-Illu_sw”; convert to smart object.

> Position.

Now it’s time to colorize …

> Image / Adjustments / Invert cmd+I.

> Adjustment layer Hue/Saturation.

> check Colorize; 0/100/-45.

And create a little bit more order …

> Convert background to real layer “fond”.

> Select all layers except “bleed” and group to “front”.

> Save.

We won’t spend much time on design details when creating the backside either. As I said, in Praxismodul 1 we want to focus more on the process.

> Duplicate group “front”; rename to “back”.

> Delete illu including correction layer.


Components of the reverse side are:

  • A Headline,
  • a short copy,
  • the Campari-Orange Drinkshot with recipe text,
  • the Campari-Soda drinkshot with bottle packshot and recipe text and …
  • again the Campari logo. 

Now let’s draw the Campari logo large.

> Free transform via Cmd+T; enlarge and position Campari logo.

Layout images

Now let’s look for suitable layout images that can serve as placeholders for the final images. The final look of the images will be concretized in the run-up to the shoot.

It is not difficult to find suitable material on the web. In the workshop we will use the provided sample images to save us searching again.

> Bildrecherche folder: Open the layout images “57261.jpg”, “Campari_Orange.jpg” and “Campari-Soda.png”.

Select and drag-and-drop to LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Crop Campari Orange: Select drink shot with Select Subject via Magic Wand Tool.

> Copy/paste to LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Name layer: “Campari Orange”; convert to smart object.

> Transform to 15% and position roughly.

> Bring Campari Soda via drag-and-drop to LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Name layer: “Campari Soda”; convert to smart object.

> Transform to 20% and position roughly.

> Select Campari Soda bottle using the attached clipping path.

> Copy/paste to LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Name layer: “Campari Soda Bottle”; convert to smart object.

> Transform to 15% and position roughly.

We are deliberately ignoring certain inaccuracies and unsightliness at this stage. Now it’s just a matter of getting something to look at quickly. If we manage to find respectable layout images, all the better. Then they can also serve another purpose when we attach them to the photo briefing.

Photo briefing

When finding a photo style and the right photographer, we proceed in much the same way as we did with the illu style and illustrator. We first research style examples in the catalogs of relevant photo agencies and then choose a photographer whose portfolio contains examples of the photo style we are looking for.

Once you have determined photo style and image content, you put together the photo brief and go through the whole thing with the chosen photographer. The photographer’s expertise can provide essential input on the look at this early stage and reflect on the requirements for the shoot. A well-planned shoot sometimes saves high costs in post-production.


In our case, the photographer may push to bring in a food stylist. Colored liquids, ice cubes, orange slices, water drops and condensation, light refraction in the glass, reflections – many of these aspects can only be controlled during the shoot with sophisticated food styling tricks.

This means that in addition to the actual shooting costs and the rights of use, the photo offer can also include the food styling as a partial offer, as well as the procurement of materials, set construction and the like.

Who contributes what to the image creation can vary greatly from job to job. At the end of every photo job, however, there is always the image editing. Many photographers today also offer postproduction, i.e. the so-called litho work.

So the graphic designer has to tell the photographer already now her decision about …

  • whether the litho costs should be part of the photo quote, 
  • whether she can and wants to do the postproduction herself or 
  • whether she would like to place this in the hands of a specially trained image processing professional.

All these considerations result in a binding photo offer and a binding image editing offer. Both of these, as well as the illu-offer, will be part of the graphic designer’s overall offer.

Text briefing

The copywriting is rarely done by the graphic designer herself. The reasons for this may lie in the genuine brain structures of the protagonists. Text and image creation seem to require completely different approaches and temperaments.

Once again, the research/briefing/offer scheme is followed. Text creators also want to be well chosen. Roughly speaking, copywriters fall into two categories: the good headliners and the good copy writers. In our case, we are looking for a good headliner. What we need in terms of text is something short, crisp, punchy.

Again, to avoid any misunderstandings – the service providers mentioned here represent areas of responsibility and the job descriptions assigned to them. A corresponding service provider is not always engaged for each task area. The graphic designer may be able to handle illu and litho tasks herself, texts are sometimes already supplied in full by the client, etc.

The reasons for engaging external service providers are manifold. There are cost/benefit considerations, timing issues, weighing up one’s own skills against those of the specialists, and so on.

If external service providers have to be involved, the graphic designer likes to fall back on a small, well-established network of partners with whom she has already had positive experiences in working together. Nothing supports a complex process better than the reliability of those involved.

Production research

The latter is particularly true with regard to print production. Particularly in print, the differences in processes and quality are sometimes quite large. Price and quality are closely intertwined in print, and experience and trust are important cornerstones of the relationship between creation and production.

Already at this early stage, one should think about possible print parameters. This involves …

  • the choice of the printing process
  • the substrate, i.e. the paper to be printed on, 
  • the grammage, i.e. the paper weight (g/m2), 
  • the print finishing, i.e. print varnish, cellophaning, etc,
  • the run length, etc

Only when all print parameters have been identified can a binding print quotation be requested from the print shop.

Once all the external quotations have been collected, the overall quotation can be issued and sent to the customer for review and approval. Ideally, this is done during the presentation of the first layout proposals. 

We will soon have reached this point. Before that, our layout still has to be completed.

Layout stage 1

In layout stage 1, we will operate with dummy texts, since the text work has not yet been done. A font search is unnecessary if, as in our case, there is a clear corporate design rule for it. It says: We may use different weights of Baskerville, an elegant and legible baroque antiqua (200 years old; John Baskerville).

If you don’t have Baskerville installed on your device, you have to get it first. Let’s take a look at the Adobe Stock Fonts Pool. Maybe we’ll find something there. For all those who do not have a regular Adobe Creative Cloud account, please just watch.

Adobe Stock Fonts:

The additions in font names usually stand for the font developer and must not be ignored, as the fonts of different font developers differ slightly. URW is a well-known German font manufacturer based in Berlin.

By pressing the “Add Family” or “Add Font” buttons, the font is added to the font menu of all Adobe programs and can be used immediately.

If a Remove button appears instead, it is clear that the font has already been added.

If you cannot load Baskerville in this simple way, you can now use any replacement font instead, ideally a serif font that is not too peculiar.

> Open dummy text.rtf.

> Dummy text typesetting with Baskerville; import text parts individually.

> Headline: Bold 20pt; text color white.

> Copy: Bold 10pt; text color white; line break after “volenditibus”.

> Recipe texts: first line Bold 10pt; further lines BoldItalic 8pt and 3 space-indent.

> Disclaimer/URL: Bold 6pt and via Free Transform -90° rotate.

In the workshop, we will of course refrain from working out several layouts. However, we expect to have made three designs for the presentation. The scheme of design stages reflects this assumed scenario.

Design stages

Thus, we assume to have elaborated LY1-3. The entries marked in light blue represent design variants that we tried out but did not make it into the presentation.

Now the question arises: In which form and in which framework should we present the layouts?

Layout presentation

Decisive for the choice of the presentation mode are of course the importance and the scope of the job.

We will only present a small flyer like this one live in a meeting if there are exceptional ideas associated with it, such as a campaign idea, a marketing idea or a mailing concept. In such cases, the graphic designer must insist on making a personal presentation.

But even in simple cases like ours, the uncommented transmission of the design is often not sufficient. Many clients are not able to “read” designs properly. And unfortunately, their willingness to deal with detailed accompanying texts is hardly given. So the graphic designer strives for a real live presentation if possible.

The layout presentation includes the presentation and discussion of the designs and the related production parameters. Furthermore, a concrete time schedule is presented and the offer is discussed.

As a rule, people today resort to beamers or tablets to present their layouts.

In the course of the presentation meeting, at least one or two design favorites should emerge. The goal is to determine the design line that should be followed. This is not always successful and the reasons can be many.

If you don’t get approval for a design, that’s frustrating, of course, but it’s usually not a disaster. In this case, you just have to go back to the design development and incorporate the newly received input.

Layout stage 2

Once a design proposal has been selected for further development in layout stage 1, layout stage 2 is all about tweaking the details. A different glass shape, a drop of water here, a slice of orange there, enlarge the logo, make the logo smaller, etc.

At the same time, the first external processes can be started.

If the customer agrees with the illu concept, for example, and the illu offer has been accepted, the graphic designer triggers the illustration process.
The same applies to the copywriting. While the graphic designer is working on layout stage 2, perhaps the first text proposals can be created in parallel.

Of course, you want to incorporate these illustration and text suggestions in layout stage 2. If this is not possible – for example, due to time constraints – you continue to work with dummy text and raw illus.

We are lucky, the copywriter delivered the required headline and the short copy in no time at all …

> Insert headline: “Inspiration in red.”

> Insert copy: “Mix your refreshing summer drinks with pure, Italian passion.”

> Save.

PDF workflow

Design proposals from level 2 onwards are presented in PDF form in all cases. Since all major operating systems are equipped with Acrobat Reader, design proposals can be submitted for viewing regardless of platform or program.

However, we will not pull the PDF directly from the Photoshop file, but generate it in one of the output programs. In our case, we’ll reach for InDesign, since the flyer is a two-page document. 

A not always strict rule says: InDesign for multi-page documents, Illustrator for single-page documents.

But before that, we need to export the two layout pages from Photoshop. During the layout phase, we can certainly create RGB PSDs for this purpose. Mac users also like to use a compressed Photoshop EPS for this purpose.

> Bring the front page to view.

> Save a Copy via cmd-option+S: “LY4-Campari-Flyer_VS”, create Photoshop EPS.

> Check Use Proof Setup: Working CMYK.

By activating the checkbox Use Proof Setup: Working CMYK, the image changes to CMYK mode and provides a reasonable preview of the expected print result in terms of color.

> EPS Options / Preview: TIFF (8 bit/pixel), Encoding: JPEG (maximum quality).

> OK.

Now the back side …

> Bring the back side to view.

> Save a Copy via cmd-option+S “LY4-Campari-Flyer_RS”, Photoshop EPS.

> Check Use Proof Setup: Working CMYK.

If you check the Include Vector Data checkbox, the vector data of the font used will be included in the EPS. Text will appear with a hard outline, both on the monitor and on the printout of an office printer. Otherwise, a slight blurring would be noticeable in the typeface.

> EPS options / Preview: TIFF (8 bit/pixel), Encoding: JPEG (maximum quality).

> Check Include Vector Data.

> OK.

Now we create a new InDesign document into which we will load our two layout EPS.

> Start InDesign: New File.

> Print; 105 x 148 mm; uncheck Facing Pages; Margins 8 mm; Bleed 3 mm.

  • Since we need two identical single page formats for the front and the back, we disable the double page mode.
  • We use the 8 mm setting of the margins as type area.
  • We print with bleed. 3 mm bleed should be enough in any case.

We draw a rectangular frame and place the EPS of the front page in it. Then we duplicate S1 and load the EPS of the back side into the rectangular frame of S2.

> Draw rectangular frame (incl. bleed), place EPS via cmd+D.

> Duplicate S1, place EPS of the back side in the rectangular frame.

> File Save as: “LY4-Campari-Flyer.indd”.

With the layout file in InDesign, we already have a document in the output format, i.e. in the target size. We are therefore already in the environment into which we will later insert the high-end data. 

This has numerous, small advantages, which we do not have to enumerate all now. Among other things, this procedure facilitates the exact positioning of the design elements and also speeds up the final artwork.

Now to export the layout PDF.

> File / Export cmd+E, Adobe PDF, New folder: “PDFs”.

> High Quality Print; Pages: All.

> Set Crop Mark and Page Information, do without Bleed and OK.

Before we send the layout PDF, we need to check it. Even in the layout phase, no data should be sent to the customer without being checked. This is part of quality assurance and is intended to prevent mishaps and embarrassment.

Many office-side email accounts have upper limits on attachment file size. Usually this is between 10 and 20 MB. This information must be obtained from the customer in advance. The file size of the PDF must be in accordance with this in any case.

> Check file size of the PDF.

It is also essential to open and inspect the PDF before sending it.

> Open PDF in Acrobat.

It happens that something goes wrong when writing the PDF. One time the transparency flattening doesn’t work, another time unwanted artifacts are formed, etc. We check whether all layout components have been captured and take another look at the texts.

If everything fits, we attach the PDF to an e-mail in which we …

  • name the layout version
  • explain the key points and 
  • outline the next steps.

If my counterpart works in the office field with the full version of Acrobat, the upcoming corrections run smoothly from a technical point of view.

In Acrobat, it is possible to insert comments, mark up text and make suggestions for corrections. All entries are automatically provided with a time stamp and the name abbreviation of the person responsible. In this way, the correction process remains traceable at all times and in all details.

As long as not all elements of the flyer have been defined and approved, the graphic designer and the customer continue their rounds in the layout phase.

The layout phase ends with the client’s explicit, i.e. written, approval of a particular layout. We then move on to the final layout phase.

Final layout

Scheme final layout phase

Only now does the execution begin, i.e. the actual implementation of the design within a binding framework and with accurate parameters.

  • The rough typesetting is specified, 
  • the illustration work is pushed ahead
  • the photo shooting takes place
  • the more and more perfect elements are added little by little,
  • the texts finally undergo a first, real proofreading.

Since all design work from now on is done in the designated programs, and no longer in the compact Photoshop file, interventions are much more time-consuming than they were in the layout phase. Large design changes should therefore be avoided in the final layout phase, but all in all they are not a problem.

If you are on safe ground right from the start with smaller jobs – all the elements are in place, a corporate design contains clear rules for implementation, the creative effort is very low – you sometimes skip the layout phase and start straight away with a final layout. Whether this is a viable approach must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Raw typesetting

In the first step of the final layout phase, the typesetting is created or completed.

> Open “LY4-Campari-Flyer.indd”.

> File / Save as: “RLY1-Campari-Flyer.indd”.

> Rename layer 1 to “Background”.

> New layer: “GFX”.

> New layer: “TXT”.

> Front / GFX: Draw frame; Place via cmd+D. 

> W = 38 mm; Fit content proportionally; Fit frame to content.

> Position: X = 8 mm / Y = 132 mm.

The Campari logo is available in our input data as an Illustrator file. We can place the Illustrator file directly in InDesign. However, it is advisable to take a close look at the data beforehand.

Since we want to print the Campari logo in four colors, we have to check whether it is actually set up in four colors.

> Open the Campari logo again in Adobe Illustrator.

> Check the Campari logo in the swatches for four-color printing.

Also: If the file is in Illustrator file format (.ai), we are usually dealing with a working file, i.e. the file may contain editable text, hidden layers, sloppily defined colors, etc.

If we are dealing with simple illustrations or graphics, such as logos, signets, pictograms or the like, I suggest always saving them as EPS of the highest level (Illustrator 2020 EPS) for workflow-hygienic reasons and loading these final EPS files into InDesign.

> save as: “Campari-Logo_4c.eps” in GFX folder (create).

> Reload in InDesign via Links palette.

Now to the typesetting of the back.

> Copy Campari logo and paste on RS.

> Drag with cmd-shift+drag to type area width.

> Set baseline to lower edge of type area.

Text and everything that has to do with type as well as vector graphics in the broadest sense must be placed in the final layout as such in the layout program and must not remain in the image status. This is because the 300 dpi image resolution is not enough to produce hard contours. The contours would appear soft or blurred in the print result.

Text and vector graphics that were created in Photoshop for convenience during the layout phase must therefore now be reproduced in InDesign. This also and especially applies to the font embedded as a vector graphic in the Photoshop file. Better safe than sorry.

To create the text parts in InDesign, we definitely resort to the elements of the Photoshop file.

> Open “LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd”.

> Copy text elements and set them correctly in InDesign (Baskerville Bold and Baskerville Bold Italic).

Since the layout texts have already been approved by the customer, we work exclusively with copy/paste when transferring text. Even if this seems excessive in our case. However, this procedure ensures that no more typing errors creep in.

Now let’s bring the Photoshop file to final layout level. Since we have created the layout Photoshop file in the final resolution and in the correct format, its transfer to the final layout state is easy.

> Hide all layers that are no longer needed.

> LYS1-Campari-Flyer.psd save as: “RLY1-Campari-Flyer.psd”.

> Save a Copy: “RLY1-Campari-Flyer_VS.eps” and “RLY1-Campari-Flyer_RS.eps”.

> Load both RLY-EPS in InDesign.

We are already in the output program, we are working in the final format and we have made the typesetting. To complete the design, we still need the illu and the images.

We complete our briefings for the illustrator and photographer where necessary, place binding orders and set the timings.

Illu workflow

Illu and photo supervision are directly part of the graphic designer’s duties, if she is in charge of art direction. In addition to placing orders and briefing, the main task is to control the processes. Let’s take a look at this for illustration.


Illustrations by Andreas Rampitsch

Illu-1 shows the actual state – our layout illu. Even in the advanced digital age, the illustrator usually works with pen and paper. At least as long as the elements have not yet been concretely defined. Changes can thus be made quickly and with relatively little effort.

In Illu-2, the subject has undergone a major overhaul. The graphic designer and the illustrator drive the process together. The client is only consulted at this stage to review relevant interim results.

By Illu-3, the sujet has been consolidated. All parts are completed to the satisfaction of the graphic designer and the client. Only now the actual realization of the Illu as a vector graphic (Illu-4) takes place. The illustrator delivers the fine illu as an Adobe Illustrator file, the graphic designer lifts it into her final layout file.

> Delete “RLY1-Campari-Flyer_VS.eps” in InDesign.

> Color background area in PSD black 91-79-62-97.

> Draw new frame on GFX layer.

> Load Campari-Illu_final.eps (ILLU-Folder) in it and scale to W = 95 mm; center; check the crop with W key.

> Switch to RS.

Photo shoot

Parallel to the creation of the raw typesetting and the illustration work, preparatory work is done for the photo shoot. All image details are discussed with the photographer in advance so that we can proceed quickly during the shoot: Ice cubes real or artificial, misted glas, soda bubbles, appearance of the orange slices, mixing ratios, light and reflections, etc. One researches various glass shapes and considers how to make it easier for the postproduction to crop the motif.

If necessary, intermediate steps are coordinated with the customer in layout style. Layout means creating realistic previews in Photoshop.

The work on the images begins long before the actual shooting date.

At the shooting itself, the presence of the graphic designer in the role of art director is indispensable. Her task is the so-called photo supervision: The art director leads the shooting, looks over the photographer’s shoulder and coordinates details with her. During the course of the shoot – possibly in consultation with the client – she gives the approvals and already considers which steps need to be taken in the subsequent image processing.

All in all, it is very helpful to keep a protocol.

Photo shoot

Studio Arnd Ötting

The photo shoot does not just deliver the one right photo, but a small or larger pool of solutions. You make variations, e.g. with and without dew, with and without orange, on a dark background, on a light background, etc.

The shooting should provide perfect material for postproduction, i.e. for image processing. For this reason, we also largely refrain from adding effects during the shooting.

From the pool of photos created, those that are to be processed are then selected. As a rule, the selection process proceeds as follows:

  1. The photographer delivers a long list.
  2. The art director reduces the whole to a short list. 
  3. After consulting with the client, the art director determines which photos will go into the litho.


Photos by Trizeps

The photographer delivers the selected photos in RAW format, of course. 

RAW formats and their implications are discussed by me in more detail in the two Photoshop workshops and in the Praxismodul on image management and conversion.

Here is just this much to mention: to keep all possibilities open for image processing, source material with maximum image content is needed. In other words: Whatever the image sensor of a camera is capable of producing must end up on the image editor’s desk.

Scheme final layout phase

A look at the final layout scheme shows: Parallel to the ongoing perfection of the raw typesetting, we are now entering the so-called litho phase.

Litho workflow

“Litho” is a general term for image and image processing. The professional refers to both the image and the work done in the image processing studio as litho.

At this point, it should be noted again: Modern photographers often offer to do the image editing themselves. Sometimes, as we said, this work is also done by the graphic designer. However, in our example we assume that the litho is done by the professionals of a litho studio.

  • In the litho, the images are cleaned up
  • the tonal values and the color values are adjusted correctly, 
  • image montages are made. 
  • Effects and looks are created,
  • and finally the images are made ready for printing.

The image editor works closely with the art director – in our case, the graphic designer – whose job it is also to supervise the litho.

Intermediate results are always placed in the final layout document and presented to the client for review. In the workshop, we will not go through the expected correction steps and will immediately jump to the final layout (called “RLY3” for the sake of example), into which the final results of the image processing will already be integrated.

> Switch to RLY1-Campari-Flyer.psd

> Open RZ1-Campari-Soda.tif and RZ1-Campari-Orange.tif (LITHO folder).

> Select Campari-Orange and Campari-Soda group via clipping path and bring them via clipboard to RLY1-Campari-Flyer.psd.

> Transform smart objects: Campari Soda = 8%, Campari Orange = 9%.

> Position and group to “RLY final RS”.

> Save as: “RLY3-Campari-Flyer.psd”.

> Since it is now no longer needed, hide bleed layer.

> Create PSD black background layer.

> Convert from RGB to CMYK.

> Save.

> File / Save a Copy “RZ1-Campari-Flyer-RS.tif” (uncheck Layers).

> Switch to RLY1-Campari-Flyer.indd

> Load RZ1-Campari-Flyer-RS.tif into the background frame.

> Adjust typesetting minimally.

> File / Save as: “RLY3-Campari-Flyer.indd”.

The final layout phase is thus characterized by four driving factors:

  • The perfection of the typesetting.
  • The perfection of the illu.
  • Perfecting the litho.
  • The incorporation of the client’s correction requests.


Once these four parallel processes have been completed, an initial binding proofreading is carried out.

Proofreading consists of editing – the actual proofreading – as well as checking the content and the legal aspects. The proofreading must be carried out particularly conscientiously.

And the graphic designer is in principle excluded from performing the proofreading. This does not mean that the graphic designer should not read and check what she produces. On the contrary, thinking and attention are always required. 

By assigning the proofreading task to a third party, at best to a professional, operational blindness is counteracted.

The direct contact person on the customer side should also have the proofreading in house additionally carried out by a colleague. It is always astonishing what striking errors can slip through without proofreading. The most vulnerable parts of the text are, surprisingly, the big headlines.

Hand samples

At the same time, the graphic designer produces a hand sample of the flyer. The two individual pages are printed out, trimmed exactly with the cutter and glued together back to back. High print quality is not necessary. What we want to see on the hand sample is primarily the overall appearance, the real proportions of all parts and the font sizes.

Once these last hurdles have been cleared, the final layout is approved in writing by the customer – e-mail confirmation is sufficient – and the final artwork can begin.

Final artwork

To reiterate, the final artwork can be started only when all elements of the design are set in final version and this final version has been approved in writing by the customer.

In the course of the final artwork phase, the design and content will not be changed. The graphic designer’s task is to check all elements once again and prepare the typesetting document, illustration and images for output.

Let’s take a look at each of the areas that need to be addressed …

Illu control

On the illu, we basically check the color assignment. Since we are going to print in four colors, the illu must also be set up in four colors.

> Open Campari-Illu_final.eps.

> Check Swatches.

> Check Separations Preview.

Besides the color status we also check the state of the paths themselves. 

> Activate Outline View via cmd+Y and return.

In the outline view, i.e. in the path view, you can see whether all font elements – if any – have actually been converted into paths and whether there are any images embedded in the illu.

Fonts as fonts and embedded images should be avoided in pure illustrations if possible. So the illu should consist of vector elements only.

Litho control

Theoretically, the hi-res data could also be brought in at this stage. This is usually the case for large agencies with their own employees who create the final artwork.

In our case, the final image data was already created and inserted in the final layout phase. In the final artwork, the images are only given the finishing touches.

> Open RZ1-Campari-Flyer.tif.

We switch to the Channels palette and take a look at the four color channels. The image has already been pre-separated for four-color printing.

> Switch to the Channels; check Separation via cmd+3, cmd+4, cmd+5, cmd+6 and finally cmd+2 again.

  • We look for unwanted artifacts or traces of incomplete retouching. 
  • We examine the gradients.
  • We estimate whether there are enough tonal values in the individual separations to ensure accurate printing.

> Check ICC profile (Info bar or Info palette).

To meet the requirements of ISO standard printing, an ICC profile must be embedded in the image. Since we are targeting four-color sheetfed offset printing, Coated FOGRA 39 is not wrong.

As I said, you can learn more about color management and the use of ICC profiles in my Photoshop workshops.

Finally, let’s take a look at the image size. This way we make sure that the hi-res file is actually used in the final artwork and not a low-res layout file.

> Check image size via cmd-option+I.

If everything is fine with the image, we take care of the typesetting details.

Typesetting check

The last steps we take on the typesetting document are mainly to check and ensure the output suitability.

> Open RLY3-Campari-Flyer.indd.

Here, too, the first step is to check the colors. We activate the Separations Preview via cmd-option-shift+Y and bring up the Separations Preview palette.

> Cmd-option-shift+Y.

> Window / Output: Open the Separation Preview palette and check the colors.

  • Do all parts separate correctly or is an RGB or spot color element hiding somewhere? 
  • Are the knock-outs – e.g. of white typo – correct and is the overprinting – e.g. of black typo – set correctly? You will find more details on this in Praxismodul Graphic Design II.

Now we check on both sides …

  • whether the bleed is set correctly and, …
  • whether all links are up to date.

> Check bleed by pressing the W key.

> Check links in the Links palette.

Finally, the final typesetting check:

  • Are the proportions correct?
  • Has the type area been adhered to?
  • Is the alignment of the text blocks consistent?
  • Are the line spacing, even?
  • Are the indentations correct?
  • etc.

Orthography and microorthography

After checking the conditions of the typesetting, we take another close look at the orthography and microorthography:

  • In addition to spelling, we check in particular the correct use of punctuation marks
  • Have the correct quotation marks, dash or hyphen been used? 
  • Are word and character spacing even or at least unobtrusive?
  • Are the markup types correctly assigned?
  • etc.

In the final artwork, therefore, not only are the last details set correctly, but above all a quality control is carried out.

No matter how great the time pressure, no matter how urgent the deadline, none of the steps mentioned here should be omitted. Ensuring printability is above all also the responsibility of the graphic designer.

Once everything is set correctly, we can save the RZ file.

> File / Save as: “RZ1-Campari-Flyer.indd”.

The RZ-File is the final, fully editable version of our design. From the RZ-File we pull all output documents. We create the printable PDF from it as well as the presentation PDF needed for a specific device.

And, the final RZ file goes into the archive after the job is finished, along with all other completed parts. All future revisions and edits refer back to this final document.


Finally, we create a PDF of the final artwork and send it to the customer for final review and approval. In the e-mail to the customer, all specifications of the print job are listed again for review and the key data on production time and delivery are given.

Flyer, two-sided
Format: DIN A6 105 x 148 mm (+3 mm bleed)
4/4c, Euroscale CMYK
Coated FOGRA 39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
Printing substrate: art paper matt, 250g/m2
Print run: 2,500 pieces
Delivery: place and time of delivery

On the customer side, a very final proofreading is now carried out. If there are any major changes, these are booked under author’s corrections. Author’s corrections are additional services that have not been planned for, i.e. their payment is added to the costs.

Preparation of the print document

If everything fits and the customer has given written approval, the actual print PDF is generated.

> File / Export cmd+E; Adobe-PDF (Print): “DU-Campari-Flyer.pdf”.

> Open PDF preset menu; select PDF/X-4:2010.

> Pages All, Export as Spreads.

> Check Compression, resolution lower limit of course 300dpi.

> Marks and Bleeds: All Printers Marks.

> Check Use Document Bleed Settings, therefore …

> Increase Marks Offset to 3.117 mm.

> Save PDF.

The print document (DU) is sent to the printer together with the specifications in an e-mail. We are now entering the so-called repro phase. However, the graphic designer’s job is not yet finished.

Repro phase and printing

Here again at a glance all the technical implications of the conventional graphic design workflow …

Technical Standards Creation and Production

Repro preparation

In the repro phase, the print documents are transferred to the prepress workflow and prepared for the production of printing plates. Final quality assurance measures are taken, and the print job and everything associated with it are planned.

At the end of the repro phase, the graphic designer usually receives a so-called brush proof, nowadays in the form of an approval PDF. This is used for the final check and the approval for printing, i.e. the production release.

Good to print

Once the approval for printing has been given, the plates are produced (CTP) for sheetfed offset printing, the substrate (paper) is supplied, and the press is set up. Printing can begin.

Press proof

If the graphic designer wants to keep a watchful eye on the actual printing process, she comes to the press proof. Directly at the press, it is still possible to intervene minimally in the color intensities.

The ISO standards of the ICC profiles, the correctly selected PDF specifications or if a proof has been prepared for the print job, make the presence at the press proof superfluous in most cases nowadays.

Flexibility in the process

Flexibility curve

Lastly, let’s take a step back and look at how the ability to work creatively and flexibly evolves throughout the graphic design workflow.

Concept phase and in the layout phase:

The degree of flexibility is naturally highest in the concept phase and in the layout phase. Specifying too early, whatever the aspect, will compromise the design development.

Final layout phase and final artwork phase:

In the final layout phase, the essential elements of the design have already been found. Flexibility and creativity decrease and sink to a low level in the final artwork phase. 

The final artwork is therefore already part of the purely technical side of the workflow. Creativity is no longer allowed to take place with regard to the reproduction process. Every turn, every major change entails manifold revision steps.

In the final artwork phase, the graphic designer must insist to the client that no more major changes be made. The creative process is complete. Hence the successive written approvals. Unfortunately, this is not always successful.

Repro phase and printing:

In the repro phase and during printing itself, as already mentioned, hardly any further intervention is possible. Nevertheless, it can happen that during these last steps, it is necessary to intervene once again. The attention of the graphic designer is still required.

Canceling a press proof for valid reasons is the lesser of two evils. It would be worse to have to cancel a print run because, for example, the customer’s logo was not reproduced correctly or an embarrassing spelling mistake crept into the title.

The shape of the flexibility curve is characterized by a certain inevitability. The graphic designer has to make sure that the development path in the workflow does not swing too far. This is not least a cost issue.


Once the print run has been printed, it still has to dry – as the offset process (wet-on-wet printing) requires. This usually takes two to three days. Then the flyers are cut to size, wrapped in the required number of packages and delivered.


When you finally have a printed copy in your hands, you have to inspect and assess the result.

  • The flyer is examined for any printing or processing errors.
  • The color and tone reproduction is checked.

Another tip for the worst-case scenario: things can always go wrong, but not addressing problems openly usually makes things worse.

If the copy turns out to be successful, take a few samples from the print run and examine them as well. If everything fits and turns out satisfactorily, the post-processing begins.


Archive 2 to 3 copies and, as mentioned above, the created data. Special attention should be paid to accurate archiving. Lost data can cost you dearly.


Unfortunately, an important point of post-processing is often omitted: the inquest. At least the graphic designer should reflect on the project in all its phases. Did everything work out, where were any weak points, what can be done better next time?

There is no such thing as the perfect process. Critical faculties and honest self-assessment are what ultimately move you forward.


At the end of every graphic design project is the billing.

You request the outstanding fee notes from the service providers involved in the project and create a total fee note. Depending on the agreement, the costs for additional services and quote overruns are added or otherwise settled. 
If, contrary to expectations, the quote is not fully utilized, this is reflected in a cost reduction in the invoice or the customer receives a credit note.

Fee invoice

Indispensable components of the fee note are, in addition to the …

  • Address data of the graphic designer and the client, 
  • the date of issue
  • the VAT number and
  • the bank details of the graphic designer (here in the footer).

Also mandatory are …

  • the indication of a consecutive invoice number
  • the 20% VAT (artists charge 10% VAT here) and 
  • the period of performance

Some customers also need their own VAT number. This is only mandatory if the final amount exceeds EURO 10.000,–.

In my practice, I enclose all supplier invoices with my total fee invoice for inspection. This creates cost transparency and trust.

You should also include a payment term: in our example, 14 days. According to the agreement, the graphic designer is obliged to advance the fees of the suppliers if necessary. A quick receipt of payment is therefore desirable.

The design presented here shows only the minimum parameters of a fee note for graphic design. For most cases and with good client agreement, this is quite sufficient. If you would like to understand the legal aspects even more clearly, you can refer to the information provided by the WKO Vienna, Division of Advertising and Market Communication.

Sometimes there can be discussions about costs. The reasons for this are manifold. The graphic designer may have failed to provide timely cost warnings, or budgets on the client side may have been too tight.

Such discussions should be conducted at eye level, unagitated and with determination. You don’t have to accept every request for a price reduction, but you shouldn’t be stiff-necked when it comes to accommodating the customer either.


In view of the great effort that went into the project and the small-scale result – our tiny flyer – it is clear that such a large-scale undertaking only makes sense and is economical if the materials, images, illus, graphics and texts created in the process can be used in a campaign context or exploited in some other way. 

The creation of a single flyer hardly justifies the effort expended in our example. But our goal in Praxismodul 1, entitled “Communication and Project Management,” was to learn about the extensive implications of a graphic design project using an example that was as simple as possible.

We were less interested in the creative aspects, but more in the technical aspects and, above all, the specifics of project management itself.

Many questions will have remained unanswered. However, it is hardly possible to give a complete account here. The graphic design projects that the graphic designer has to set up in each case are too different. 

But what we have certainly acquired in the crash course is a toolbox full of techniques, terms, possibilities and handlings that we can use at will to get our projects up and running.