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Kirsten Sims Senior Designer
January 24, 2024

A Journey Through the Visual Design Process at Chapter Three 

In the fast-paced digital landscape, visual design is critical to capturing user attention and creating successful websites. Chapter Three’s design team stands out for its innovative, hands-on, and user-centric approach to web design. We believe that the visual design process is not just about creating aesthetically pleasing graphics, but is also a careful undertaking that merges aesthetic creativity with functionality. Here we'll delve into the artistry behind the visual design process and explore how our design work has transformed digital experiences for our clients and their users.

Understanding User Needs

At the core of Chapter Three's design philosophy is a commitment to understanding user needs and project goals. At the beginning of every project, our team conducts in-depth user research to identify pain points, preferences, and behaviors. Our team uses this research to begin the creative process and generate designs that will resonate with the target audience.

Content Blocking and Wireframing

We create wireframes (skeletal outlines or blueprints) to serve as the foundational visual representation of a website before we begin design. They focus solely on layout and structure, and are devoid of detailed design elements, color schemes and content. Wireframes provide an overview of user interface, illustrating the arrangement of key elements, navigation paths, and overall information hierarchy. By prioritizing functionality and user interactions, wireframes allow stakeholders, designers, and developers to collaborate efficiently and make informed decisions early in the design process. This helps identify potential issues and refine the user experience to ensure a seamless and intuitive final product.

wireframes


Crafting a Visual Identity

With a solid understanding of our client's vision and approved wireframes, we begin crafting a distinctive visual identity and establishing the design system. This involves creating color palettes, making typography choices, and selecting iconography, illustrations, and photography. The goal is not only to design for the present, but also to create a timeless and recognizable brand aesthetic.

Design system artifacts outlineing color and type styles.


How do we do this? We start by asking our client about existing brand guidelines, and request that they send a list of sites they like and dislike. We use this to create a design inspiration board (moodboard) from clippings of existing sites where we have found user interfaces and functionality that match the project goals and the client’s aesthetic.

moodboard


Iterative Design Exploration

Our dynamic design process is highly iterative and collaborative. With the approved moodboard, our team explores multiple design concepts, allowing us maximum creativity. We present the concepts to our client and decide on a direction. From there, we develop the chosen concept, present it to the client team, gather feedback, and iterate. This process is usually structured in three rounds where we work together to refine and hone the visual elements. These feedback sessions ensure that the final design aligns with expectations, while pushing the boundaries of innovation.

style guide


Collaborative Feedback Throughout the Entire Process

We solicit and prioritize client input at every stage of the visual design process, from discovery to wireframing to design. This collaborative environment means that clients are actively involved in shaping the visual narrative of the project. It ensures that the final design reflects our client's vision while benefiting from the expertise of Chapter Three's design team.

See What We’ve Done

Here is a sample of our recent design projects. For many sites, we continue to expand and grow each site as client and user needs evolve.


BB&E

A group of devices--laptop, tablet, and mobile--displaying the BB&E website.

Childress Klein

Laptop and phone screens

CSU Bakersfield

laptop and tablet and phone

Oregon Law Help

Grouping of devices--laptop, table and mobile--displaying Oregon Law Help website.

California Courts

tablet and phone screens


United Nations Development Programme

laptop and phones

It’s Up to Us

laptop and tablet


OHM Advisors

laptop and phone

HDR Inc.

laptop, tablet, phone

The Shops at Santa Anita

shops at santa anita

World Bank | Ethical Principles In Health Care

laptop, tablet, phone

World Bank | Global Agriculture Food Security Program

laptop and phone

California Children’s Hospital Association

tablet and phones

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Foundation

screens

UC Berkeley VC Research

tablet and phone screens

UCSF Bakar Institute

laptops and screenshots