Discovery is at the heart of our work. We dig in like archaeologists to reveal all of the visual, oral and digital knowledge that we can get. We consult with the people well connected with the project and provide visioning sessions, brand bootcamps and workshops for stakeholders. We not only gather information during this process, but we cultivate brand champions and build teams among often diverse groups of people. After all, you're different – just like everyone else. We uncover the common ground and reveal the shared vision.
Ideation is when the project vision and strategy starts to form. Ion analyzes a broad range of visual ideas that are developed in parallel with the brand strategy. Because we are a design-based studio with deep branding expertise, we are constantly looking at the flexibility, practical application and extensibility of our creative work downstream. Only the best ideas with the most visual impact make it through our internal evaluation process before being presented for approval, ensuring we are on brand. Sure, we are demanding of ourselves, but the nature of our work and the character of our people make for a positive experience for all. And it shows in the results.
Refinement is the stage when the fine-tuning of a creative concept is done. We test the robustness of the creative work and we art direct, or ensure the production of required content is planned out and executed. We work with suppliers as needed to establish budgets that align with the project vision. We ensure that any technical issues are dealt with early on. Comprehensive layouts are presented for feedback and everything is prepared to move smoothly into the production phase.
The production work and guidelines are developed during the Implementation phase. Whether the project requires typesetting, multimedia content creation or image manipulation and placement, preparing the final artwork is all about technical execution. We cover the full spectrum of production, whether it’s for wayfinding, exhibit systems, printing or online media. We produce final files, templates and specifications that are accurate and clear for people to understand. To borrow a cliché, we make brands happen – better.
The primary focus during Deployment is on quality assurance and ensuring timely deliveries. Services range from supplier coordination, manufacturing checks, installation deliveries and coordinating media placement. Quality assurance and usability testing occurs throughout our design and production line, and this phase provides time for Ion to work with our clients and suppliers to ensure that the project vision is upheld. Getting the best quality and value is key and drives brand reputation.
We have found, over the years, that providing a Review process enables stakeholders, designers and suppliers with an opportunity to assess the project’s successes and its challenges while looking forward to next steps. We are only human, so believe it or not, we are always looking for self-improvement as well. We generally plan for a review one month after launch, depending on the project, and annually after that.