The Graphic Design process – FAQ’s

The Graphic Design process can be a confusing one. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions, and a bit of how we handle things. Select the category of your question below, or the search bar on the top right for a keyword!

How we work2019-05-25T18:34:14+02:00

How our graphic design studio works

A well-planned project allows for good creative, less errors and a successful implementation. The basic process of a project and reverts is outlined below. The graphic design flow is slightly different when dealing with websites and video production, so please chat to us for further information on those.

What is the process?

Please read through our process flow below.

We usually start off with a meeting (either physical, or via telephone/Skype). No charge for this! Once we know what you are looking for, we can start the process.

QUOTE: Based on discussion either telephonically or in a meeting, we will supply a quote. This quote is an estimate only and is subject to change. We will always advise if the quote doesn’t accurately reflect the nature of the project once it’s underway. We allow for one meeting up to 1 hour within the Durban area (30km radius from our Westville studio) for the initial quote, and meetings/time thereafter will be billed for at an hourly rate.

QUOTE ACCEPTANCE AND DEPOSIT PAYMENT: Once you are satisfied with your quote and agree to the terms and conditions, please sign and send back to us. Once your deposit has been paid, please send through proof of payment via email or fax. Once your proof of payment has been received, we will start with the next phase. For larger projects, we implement scheduled payments that will be outlined in the estimate.

Now we get to know you better!

BRIEF / DISCOVERY:  At this point, we will require a full brief from you. All briefs need to be supplied or approved via writing. We have online brief forms you may fill out. A concise brief is important for both parties: you give us a measurable list of achievables and we can avoid confusion. We may need to revise the quote at this stage to make sure our initial projections are in line with your brief.

CONTENT: We won’t be able to start your project until we have all your content. We won’t be able to start your project until we’ve received all your content. All content and imagery is to be supplied unless a copywriter is involved. You are responsible to supply copyright compliant imagery and content. Content supplied in MS Word as final and approved copy. All supplied images as high resolution as possible (300dpi).

CREATIVE:  Based on the information supplied, our graphic designers will develop concepts which will be emailed to you. Once you have reviewed the concepts we would require your feedback as to your preferred option and using this feedback, we will modify the designs to meet your requirements.

Now we’ve submitted your designs. Hopefully you are loving them, if not, no worries, we’ll find out what needs to be done to make you feel the love!

REVISIONS:  We allow 3 minor revisions to the project in the estimate – this is capped and will be indicated on your estimate/invoice. Additional revisions will be charged for at an hourly rate, so to avoid extra costs, please make sure to have your original content in it’s final form! (Ask us how you can streamline this process to ensure there are no extra costs!)

SIGN-OFF:  Once a project is completed, we require approval sent through either by email, fax or hard copy and can then make up your files in their required final format.

Booyah! Job done!

DELIVERY AND FINAL PAYMENT: Halo Media requires the outstanding payment to be made prior to final artwork submission. We’ll then be able to supply your files as required (eg. digitally or via courier)

What is a sitemap?2017-12-11T13:06:33+02:00

What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a visual tool designed to communicate how the different pages of a website are related to each other. Here is an example of a sitemap: http://sitemaps.thewpdevshop.com/proctormajor/

What are Spot Pantone colours?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00


Spot colours are specific colours which are pre-mixed instead of being made up in CMYK (see What is CMYK). The most widely used colour system is PMS: Pantone Matching System.

Pantone is a standardised colour matching system, utilising the Pantone numbering system for identifying colours. By standardising the colours, different manufacturers around the world can all reference a Pantone numbered colour, making sure colours match.


What is High or Low resolution (hi res / low res)2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

Very briefly, the resolution of an image or picture describes the detail (or information) an image holds. The higher the resolution, the more detail the image has, because there is more information. Information translates to “pixels,” which are the different coloured “dots” that make up an image. The more pixels there are, the more vivid the image is and detailed to the naked eye. If an image has very few pixels the image will appear to be “pixelated”—the pixels look like squares all joined together—but you know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve ever printed something off the internet (and who hasn’t?).

DPI stands for “dots per square inch.” This is the measurement printing companies use to determine how sharp an image is. Photos or images used for online or web graphics can be at low resolution (72 DPI) and will look FABULOUS on a computer screen. But try to print those same pictures and they’ll look horribly pixelated. For printing purposes images should be 300 DPI or better.

High resolution example:


Low resolution example:


What is vector artwork?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

Unlike JPEGs, GIFs, and BMP images, vector graphics are not made up of a grid of pixels. Instead, vector graphics are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape. These paths can be used to create simple drawings or complex diagrams. Paths are even used to define the characters of specific typefaces.

Because vector-based images are not made up of a specific number of dots, they can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. If you blow up a raster graphic, it will look blocky, or “pixelated.” When you blow up a vector graphic, the edges of each object within the graphic stay smooth and clean. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos, which can be small enough to appear on a business card, but can also be scaled to fill a billboard.

Top: vector image
Bottom: raster image


What is RGB and CMYK?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

RGB is an additive, projected light colour system. All colours begin with black “darkness”, to which different colour “lights” are added to produce visible colours. RGB “maxes” at white, which is the equivalent of having all “lights” on at full brightness (red, green, blue). Screens (computer, phone, media player, television, etc are RGB – the pixels have little subpixels that just show red, green or blue.

CMYK is a subtractive, reflected light colour system. All colours start with white “paper”, to which different colour inks are added to absorb (subtract) light that is reflected. In theory, CMY are all you need to create black (applying all 3 colours at 100%). Alas, that usually results in a muddy, brownish black, so the addition of K (black) is added to the printing process. It also makes it easier to print black text (since you don’t have to register 3 separate colours). Most printers print in CMYK.

Please keep in mind, that you can’t display the exact same colors in RGB and CMYK.

IFS Logo CMYK colours:
C100, M70, Y0, K30 (Blue)
C0, M100, Y100, K10 (Red)

IFS Logo RGB colours:
R0, G66, B130 (Blue)
R0, G66,B130 (Red)


What is portrait and landscape?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

This indicates whether the artwork is in a horizontal or vertical format. Landscape means horizontal. Portrait means vertical. When giving the size of artwork is it generally accepted practise to give the height first, followed by the width.



What is a pixel?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

All images from digital cameras or scanners are made up of PIXELS. The word PIXEL is a contraction of the term PIcture ELement. A pixel’s appearance can be defined as a tiny square of colour. You may find it helpful to think of it as a very small tile, such as a floor tile. If you magnified a high resolution digital image to 1,600 percent you would see the pixels (or tiles) that the image is made up of.

Whats the difference between Litho and Digital printing?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

Litho printing has been around for ages and even with the advent of digital printing, it still remains a popular choice amongst many business owners. Litho printing involves creating custom plates for each page and the machine uses oil and water (which do not mix) to recreate the images on paper. Litho printing works out to be very cost effective if you require a large volume of prints.

One of the drawbacks to litho printing is the initial set up cost. Setting up the plates does require a bit of time and can be expensive if you are printing a small number of documents, which is why litho printing is more suitable for a large quantity of prints.

Digital printing is a quicker and more cost effective option if you need less than 1000 copies of something printed. This is because it does not require a lengthy set up process as it simply prints from an electronic file. Digital printing is also a better option if you need each document to be personalised. For example, if you are printing notices and you would like each addressed personally to your customers.

One of the disadvantages of digital printing is that the prints are usually not protectively coated. This means that UV, heat or moisture can damage the print quite easily, which is why litho printing would be a better choice for outdoor banners and posters.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Quantity and cost: Litho printing is a better option if you are printing more than 1000 copies of something. Digital printing is a more economical option if you are printing a small number of documents.
  • Quality: Litho printing is known to produce a much better quality image than digital printing.
  • Speed: The set up needed for litho printing can take quite a while. Digital printers are set up easily and your job will be completed quickly.

Which is the best printing option for me?

Paper sizes2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00

The ISO paper size A standard is based on each size being half of the size of the previous one, when folded parallel to the shorter lengths. This system allows for a variety of useful applications, such as the enlarging and reducing of images without any cutoff or margins, or folding to make a booklet of the next size down.

The diagrams below show the A page sizes in comparison to each other and with their sizes (click to open full-size).

A0 = 841 x 1189mm
A1 = 594 × 841mm
A2 = 420 × 594mm
A3 = 297 × 420mm
A4 = 210 × 297mm
A5 = 148 × 210mm
A6 = 105 x 148mm
Is your copy correct?2016-11-11T13:19:25+02:00


Spelling and Grammar are crucial for a professional brand. Here is a list to check against:

  • Make sure that the body copy and headings of the document have been spell checked
  • Ensure that all job titles are correct and spelt correctly
  • Check the spelling of countries, cities and place names (including site names) mentioned
  • Verify the correct spelling of people’s names, especially with other languages
  • Do not format your document with fonts, colours and other style features like bold and italics
  • If information remains to be inserted at the last minute, highlight the omission prominently so that it is not forgotten
  • Do not use “&” in the body copy of a formal document, use “and” as it is more professional
  • Are the correct words capitalised? (Names, places, months, weekdays). Are there words that have been unnecessarily capitalised?
  • Spell out numerals at the beginning of sentences (e.g. Eleven years ago). After that, spell out one through nine and use numbers for 10 or above
  • Use abbreviations sparingly, make sure your audience knows what your abbreviation means. Do not abbreviate words like thank you (thanx), document (doc), technical (tech). Countries must be written out in full eg. Mozambique not Moz, South Africa not SA
  • Make sure employee names are updated with correct job descriptions. Contact details are correct (telephone number, cellphone number, address, email)
  • Has someone else proof read your document? If the body copy is in a language other than English, please make sure the copy has been read by someone else who is fluent in that language
  • If you have used numbering, please make sure that the correct numbers follow each other and the numbering is consistent
  • Do not enter two letter spaces between sentences
  • Make sure your sentences are not too long
  • Make sure there is consistency e.g. full stops after bullet points
  • Avoid using the world ‘very’ too often
  • Use exclamation marks sparingly
  • Don’t use commas that are not necessary
  • The term i.e. means “that is”; e.g. means “for example.” And a comma follows both of them.
How we track time2017-03-15T07:28:24+02:00


We keep timesheets of all our projects, which can be supplied if there is a query. We use an online application which allows us to generate reports on demand. We can also set time alerts, so you will always be aware if a project is experiencing time scope creep. We will advise you as soon as it reaches a pre-determined time milestone.

Our system prompts us if we leave the timer running, so you can rest assured you aren’t being charged for time that is not being spent on your job.

Proof checking artwork2016-11-11T13:19:26+02:00

We have a double-checking system in our studio in an effort to make sure that your work is as problem free as possible. Although Halo Media will do our best to ensure that your work is error free, the final responsibility is yours to ensure that correct spelling, grammar and contact details appearing on your final work is checked and approved prior to Halo releasing your artwork. If we are not brokering print, then the onus is on you to ensure that your printer runs proofs and they are signed off prior to printing to avoid print errors.

What you need to check:

  • Please check all content and copy thoroughly before final sign-off, as we cannot be held liable for any errors
  • Pay special attention to names, technical terms and contact details
  • Colour displayed on screen is never 100% accurate against printed colour. It is for this reason we ask you to sign off all printed proofs at the printer
  • With web projects, be aware that different screens have different colour calibrations so may vary according
  • Check your images are high resolution and do not have any copyright restrictions.
Supplying content2017-03-15T07:26:23+02:00

How to supply content to our design agency

We require all content in digital format unless agreed otherwise.


We require text supplied in Microsoft Word or email. Please ensure that it is your final version and is free from spelling and grammatical mistakes as Halo Media will not be held responsible for mistakes. Furthermore, content changes may incur extra costs (see how to avoid scope creep) and increase the likelihood of errors. If there are other people involved in the project, please obtain their approval prior to sending content through.


All images supplied in high resolution (excluding website imagery) and logos as vector based artwork or high resolution jpegs. If we need to redraw logos and graphics, this may incur an extra fee. Should you not have imagery, we can source images for you from our standard image libraries at an additional fee, or assist with assigning a photographer (to be billed separately).

Note: You need to ensure that you have copyright compliant imagery and content. This means you cannot take the pictures from Google, or copy the content from another website.  Halo will deem all supplied imagery and text to be copyright compliant and will not check for plagiarism or piracy. If you are unsure, please check with your Halo contact to discuss this further.


If you have an existing brand, please supply us with your marketing material and/or brand guidelines so that we can keep the brand continuity
Revision of estimate: Occasionally, we have to revise your estimate based on the content requirements. These include:

  • Complex charts/graphs/diagrams
  • Logos etc. which require redrawing
  • Photos which require intense photo retouching