What to Expect

Starting a creative project can be daunting. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and most of the folks we work with don’t have a lot of resources to spare. The design process can be an enjoyable and fruitful process, and our goal is to make the steps as clear and easy as possible.

Here are a few things to expect along the journey with Arcana Creative.

Exploring your motivations

Arcana works with leaders who see the value of digital tools, engaging stories, compelling designs, creative expressions, and integrated strategies. We’re driven by a desire to see real-world solutions in action because we have a vision for strong, vibrant, inclusive communities where everyone has what they need to thrive.

During our first touchpoint, the consultation, we’ll explore your motivations. What problem are you looking to solve? Which group of people are you aiming to reach? What change are you hoping to measure? We bring our experience with human-centred design, public narrative, and social systems to consider underlying factors.

Taking time to listen to your “why” helps us establish expectations and create a plan for action. Your job during this phase is to be honest and reflective. Think about what success looks like and help us focus on an achievable goal.

Play with the process of discovery

Once we gain a sense of your goals and motivations, we work with you to establish the parameters of the problem. We get closer to framing the challenge, and we decide on how to scope the project. There is an emphasis on play during this stage. We use tools like story analysis, architecture mapping, and audience personas to get us out of our creative boxes. This stage also involves research. We explore the context, the competition, and the creative opportunities before us.

Your role in this stage is to trust the process. You can expect us to ask you lots of questions, try out a range of ideas, and push you to focus on what is most important about what we’re doing together. Discovery involves experimentation and exploration, and the pathway to a useful concept is not always linear. Play with the questions we ask you, enjoy getting out of your everyday way of thinking and stay open-minded!

Nurture the seeds of a concept

Through the discovery phase, a strategy begins to form. We begin developing concepts for your consideration, which could come in the form of story pillars, personality, voice, brand moodboards, audience character studies, mock ups, and more. This is a turning point in the design story. It marks a “settling” into our assumptions, and it forces us to acknowledge the limits and potential of each creative idea.

You can expect us to bring you ideas to consider and explain the strategic angle we’re going for. What we’re looking for from you, the client, in this stage is that you try to clear your mind of expectations, and bring a critical eye to your review and feedback. We’ll explore and assess together what will best help us reach the goals we’ve set out for the project.

Create and refine deliverables

With a strong concept agreed upon by all project partners, we move on to developing and refining design products. This involves a suite of messaging, visuals, and final designs for your particular suite of deliverables. We will consistently come back to the strategy and goals of the project, checking in along the way to see how assumptions and needs have evolved. Our job in this stage is to keep in careful alignment with timelines and budgets, and to communicate progress along the way.

What we’re looking for from clients in this stage is support reaching the finish line. That means clear communication about who has the authority to make the final decision, support with user testing and focus groups, and timely revisions.

Sharing designs for social impact

Once designs and deliverables are complete, it’s time to share them with the world. We provide a range of services to support the launching of new tools, websites, marketing products, and creative projects. Whether we use a ladder of engagement for each target audience, or help out with social graphics and newsletter copy, we want to help you connect with those who need to hear your message.

You can expect the launch phase to include some training, wrap-up meetings, and hand-offs of final files. We’ll work with you to assess capacity for sharing works and engaging target audiences. Long-term implementation and maintenance support is often available for on-going projects.

We also use this time to reflect and celebrate with clients. We’re almost always working on projects that aim to push back against oppressive systems or reframe the status quo in some way, and that is work to be proud of. In addition to a virtual high-five and thank you, you can expect to see a cheerful post about your project on our website and social media. It’s important to enjoy our wins and reflect on our challenges as a community.

Give us a call!

We’re here to provide the tools, processes, and strategies to help you move forward. A bit of guidance goes a long way in making the design process enjoyable and effective!