Specialty Promotions

You are a graphic designer working for an in-house graphic design studio. The art director has recently received a pro-bono project to design a series of specialty promotions (tshirts, mugs, hats, coasters, mouse pads, etc.) for the SFCC Graphic Design Club.

The client has asked that the specialty promotions be created using a maximum of 2 colors. The design needs to be unique & eye catching. It needs to tell a story. It will be handed to industry professionals as a gift for speaking.

The art director would like to see 3 different creative approaches. The art director will then sign off on one of the designs to show to the client for approval.

Once the creative approach has been determined you will then produce a tight comprehensive design. The client has asked that all digital files be delivered for printing purposes. You will work with your art director on research, idea exploration, and concept development.

You will submit thumbnails to the art director, who will then choose 3 concepts to develop into 3 tight roughs. Once the roughs have been approved by the art director, one will be chosen for the final design.

In order to make sure that the job is scheduled appropriately, prints correctly and all electronic files are configured correctly you will be in close contact with the production manager. The final comprehensive designs will need to simulate the final printed items as closely as possible. The production manager has asked that all of the digital files be delivered at the completion of the project.

Assets: Logo

Some suggestions are:

Typographic design, historical design, Illustration, design movements.
Create something intelligent, humorous, insightful, unique or memorable.

Think about what it's like when an art director receives it...
What does it tell them about SFCC students, the program, the industry?
What's the story?

Meet the following goal : To promote students, the program and the SFCC Graphic Design Club to industry professionals.

Past examples: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Design Process

Develop the marketing strategy and design brief.
Think critically and problem solve.

  1. Define the project's objectives.
  2. Define the target audience.
  3. Research potential products and usability.
  4. Identify the competition and its selling points.
  5. Define the client's unique selling proposition.
  6. Collect industry examples for inspiration.

Obtain Step 1: Research sign-off from your process instructor.


  1. Create a mind map to relate words and images to the product.
  2. Brainstorm concepts and solutions.
  3. Assemble a mood board to measure the client and art director's response to visual styles.
    Include the following...
    • images / techniques
    • color palette
    • typography choices
    • industry examples
  4. Generate a mood board using gomoodboard.
  5. Create a simple HTML document with links to your mood board and place on the server for review.
  6. Obtain feedback from your art director.

Obtain Step 2: Mood Boards sign-off from your process instructor.

Develop concepts

  1. Develop quick concepts, in thumbnail form.
  2. Verify that your work meets thumbnail criteria:
    • Generate as many thumbnail sketches necessary to...
      communicate a minimum of 5 different successful concepts / main ideas
    • shows composition variations for each concept
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • are drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • conveys composition, sizing and position
    • Include samples of photographic or illustrative imagery.
    • show general shapes of graphic elements (images, text, etc.)
    • display readable headline type
  3. Submit your 5 most promising concepts to the art director for review.
  4. Determine the 3 best concepts to develop.

Obtain Step 3: Design (Thumbnails / Concepts) sign-off from your process instructor.

Submit rough layouts to the art director.

  1. Develop three roughs from the thumbnails selected by your art director that meet the following criteria:
    • indicate type choice (typeface, case, type style, etc)
    • indicate usage of color
    • are computer generated
    • Tells the "story"
    • Addresses and relates to the target audience
  2. After the art director approves your roughs, make any changes indicated.
  3. Present your designs.
  4. The art director will then sign off and approve the design to be taken to final stage.

Obtain Step 4: Roughs sign-off from your process instructor.

Meet with the production manager.

  1. Determine the skills and steps (checklist) needed to produce your design (digital strategy).
  2. Discuss your digital strategy with the production manager.
  3. Choose the appropriate software to create graphic artwork by understanding the difference between vector and raster images.
  4. Ask the production manager about any issues you are unsure of.
  5. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  6. When it is clear that you understand how to produce your design correctly and efficiently, the production manager will sign off/approve your strategy.

Obtain Step 5: Technology Strategy sign-off from your technology instructor.

Produce the final design.

  1. Create all native files (raster and vector images).
  2. Assemble text and images using the appropriate software.
  3. Use layers to isolate graphic elements in order to manipulate / change individual parts of the design.
  4. Use the document grid and ruler guides to align text and graphics.
  5. Use standard PDF presets for file preparation.
  6. Make backup copies of all files after each work session.
  7. Print a black and white laser proof and check for correctness and accuracy.
    (Spell check and Proof Read!)
  8. Make appropriate revisions.
  9. Check color separations to ensure only the appropriate inks (CMYK & Spot) are used.
  10. Check to see if overprints, knockouts, and rich blacks are correct.
  11. Create PDF versions for approval and final output.
  12. Copy all final documents to the server folder(s) specified by the client and production manager.
  13. Present your final design to your art director for sign-off/approval.
Obtain Step 6: Final Design sign-off from your process instructor.

Instructor / Class critique.

  1. Print out the full color design for review.
  2. Have a "Color Digital Comp/ Peer Review" of your design.
  3. Make necessary copy and design revisions.

Obtain Step 7: Design revisions sign off from your process instructor.

Complete final file preparation with your production manager.

  1. Create job folder(s) as instructed by your production manager.
  2. Prepare raster and vector images correctly for commercial printing.
  3. Use effective file management and follow instructions for saving files to appropriate volumes by...
    • using descriptive / logical file names, formats and extensions
    • using a dedicated folder for working files
  4. Using the print preparation checklist have a "Technology Peer Review" of your project files before meeting your instructor.
  5. Check to see if overprints, knockouts, and rich blacks are correct.
  6. Verify:
    • Correct raster file sampling and preparation.
    • Correct vector file preparation.
    • Correct spot color usage.
    • Files are built to vendor size and specifications.
  7. Use standard PDF presets for file preparation...
    • for print (x-1a)
    • for client presentation (smallest file size)
  8. Complete service provider package.
  9. Copy all final documents to the server folder(s) specified by the client and production manager.
  10. Use a back up filing system.
  11. Submit final full color design on a 11"x17" and PDF on or before the deadline date that indicates entry level graphic design by completing the list of items above. Examples: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Obtain Step 8: Final Deliverable sign-off from your technology instructor.



T-Shirt Templates

Creative Techniques Listing


Making Pantones from random colors

Trapping spot colors

Pantone colors

Duotones and spot chanels

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