RJ00241: Reading International
The initial brief set by the client (Susanne) was to design a set of email templates using MailChimp for Reading International. Reading International is based in Reading, its an art organisation which is led by the Reading School of Art at the University of Reading. It is a contemporary visual arts organisation that promotes and commissions solo exhibitions, groups and thematic shows. Through the organisation a programme of events are undertaken some of these include, performances, film screenings, workshops, talk, offsite projects and temporary public artworks.
The initial brief which was set was to design cool looking email templates using MailChimp. The organisation wanted to design an e-invite that could be sent out regularly from their current MailChimp account, that was eye-catching but also matched their current branding.
In order to fully understand the organisation and the set brief, it was essential to arrange a meeting with my client. In order to arrange the meeting with my client I had to construct a formal which introcuded myself. The first email which I constructed to my client was the most important as this set the tone for the whole real Job. I wanted to ensure that my client trusted and respected my opinion throughout this job.
To prepare for the meeting I created a set of questions, these were then asked within the meeting. The sorts of the questions which were asked helped me understand what my client wanted from the real job. It was important to undertake these questions to ensure that my client got the most out of the job. The following questions were asked;
- What do your current email templates look like?
- What do your email templates promote?
- Do you have different email templates for each program?
- Whats the current logo for Reading International?
- What typefaces used currently?
- Any competitors? What do their email templates look like?
Asking these particular questions aided me during the design process. However, due to University strikes and my client working at the University of Reading, the job was therefore delayed, although this was communicated. The job began to progress towards to the beginning of April. This therefore pushed back the initial deadline, however during the first meeting with my client this was communicated as I wanted to ensure that there was no confusion. This progress helped me understand that communicating with a client is a vita aspect. Additionally, to this as my supervisor was on strike as well It also delayed the process. However, I ensured that I kept my supervisor up to date once the strike was over.
In the initial meeting with my client we arranged that all contact would be made through email. The designs for each template would be created on MailChimp, this would then be shared with my client. After my initial client meeting, a restated brief was undertaken. This involved stating specifically what my client wanted from the job and most importantly a schedule to organise the work that needed to be completed for the deadline.
ORIGINAL RESTATED BRIEF
The related brief concluded that three email templates would be designed on Mailchimp, which would contain one of each program. These are; exhibition/projects or events or Artlab. Alongside the deliverables a schedule was created. This was sent sent to my client through email and ensured the she read it and got back to me if anything else needed to be added or if anything was incorrect.
In order to understand what other e-invite templates look like, I conducted some research to see how other competitors within this field create their templates. My client also forwarded me some emails of other organisations, this helped me understand what my client wanted from the job as well this it also ensured that I created something unique for Reading International. In addition to this, I also checked out the Reading International website to see what colours, typefaces and sort of style they currently have.
Once the restated brief was approved by my supervisor and client, I then began to design aspects of each template. After looking at other organisations it was clear that everything was kept consistent. I also wanted to portray this with Reading Internationals templates. As the restated brief stated above, three templates would be created, one for each program. However, the current Reading International templates were evident that each template wasn’t differentiated. I therefore I wanted to create headings for each template to ensure that people who are subscribed to Reading International know which sort of program is being advertised.
Once these headings were deigned I then sent them to my client in order to receive feedback. This was important as it ensured that I was producing something that my client wanted. As well as this it made me understand how important it is to get constructive criticism from clients. Furthermore, after gaining feedback from my client, it was clear that she wanted to differentiate each of the programs through their layouts, instead of using headings. I did however question this because I wasn’t aware at the time if it was important for the person receiving the email to know which programs are being advertised or not. However, once discussing this with my client it was made clear that it was not as important.
Furthermore, during the design process my client stated how she only wanted two templates created, one for events and one for exhibitions/projects. In addition to this, she also stated how she wanted the logo to be redesigned as it previously had a cream background. However, the main website for Reading International had a white background. Therefore she wanted a logo that best reflected the brand.
Initial designs were created on Indesign using the copy text supplied by my client. This was completed in order to experiment with the different layouts. Once completed I started to transfer the different layouts onto MailChimp. However, as MailChimp is a website that has standard templates, this caused some limitations when designing layouts. After speaking to my supervisor, it was advised that I should share the templates on MailChimp with my client, instead of sending PDF’s of the draft templates made on InDesign.
Redesigning the logo taught me how to produce gif’s, this was something I always wanted to master but never got the chance to experiment with. The gif was produced on Photoshop using different layers. This was then placed onto the templated on MailChimp, I had to also ensure that file size was compatible with MailChimp, this involved a bit of research.
The templates were shared with my client were she was able to view the two different templates. My client expressed gratitude and asked whether or not I would be able to produce another template for a new series. I Kindly accepted this offer, however due to the restricted time that I had, this will be completed after May 14th. In addition to this, in order to keep the consistency within all the templates, guidelines will be produced to keep my client understand the design choices made. The guidelines would clearly state the typefaces used, sizes, spaces and colours.
UPDATED RESTATED BRIEF
As various aspects developed throughout the course of this real job it was important to produce an updated restated brief, which included the third template being created for my clients new series, the updated gif logo and the guidelines for each template. As the guidelines and third email template were discussed close to the original deadline, I will continue to develop these working towards a new deadline.
16 Wednesday May 2018 – Third template sent to client.
17 Thursday May 2018 – Feedback from client.
21 Monday May 2018 – Guidelines produced and sent to client.
23 Wednesday May 2018 – Feedback from client on guidelines.
25 Friday May 2018 – Deadline, all files and MailChimp templates will be sent to client.
As this job has not been completed yet, I have still learnt a range of skills. These include learning how to create gifs on photoshop and learning how to use MailChimp. MailChimp was not something I was aware of until I took on this job. Using MailChimp helped me understand how email templates are created. The gif was a challenging aspects as it was not something I had done before, however gaining this experience has helped me implement this skill within my own portfolio. In addition working with my client helped me learn communication skills, such as forming professional emails, keeping my client up to date with each stage. These aspects helped me realise how important communication is when working in the design industry.