Production Design Work

What is a Production Designer, or Production Artist?

A production designer is someone with a good eye for graphic design who is also good at the more technical aspects of page layout, file prep, consistency, and templates. This work includes: creating templates for any design project that needs consistent design, page layout from these or existing templates, creating all sorts of images and collateral based on an established brand guide, and many similar tasks that progress out of an original graphic design once it is established. Below are examples of production work I’ve done.

As a page layout expert, I work on large projects along with editors and sometimes other designers. In 2024 I worked on a teaching curriculum that included a 152-page activity card set and a 48-page teacher’s guide for 6 separate units. We used detailed character and paragraph styles to maintain branding while changing key colors per unit. Setting up cascading styles allowed for global color changes more than once during the project. I also supported the process of image selection and making several sizes and crops for each photo. These are just some sample pages to show complexity.

I have worked with DBAs to export their data with tags designed for automated import into page layout templates I’ve set up. I’ve created entire directories this way. Here is a very small example of tagging and styling an InDesign file and working with the admin to receive simple XML tags and placeholders to create an event program at the latest possible hour. Elements are set up to repeat or delete as needed based on the data.

Below are some examples of a typical rebrand project. An agency creates a template, then I would create structured styles and master pages, then proceed to build out dozens of additional collateral pieces leveraging the design while customizing the graphics.

Production work may not excite some graphic designers, so you need someone who will stay focused and continue to adhere to brand standards, 25 case studies later.

In addition to corporate rebranding, I’ve worked on similar projects for nonprofits, taking agency designed artwork and creating many collateral pieces, such as posters, newspaper ads, playbills, postcards, etc. I have done this for two theatre companies and other arts organizations. It is about sticking to the original intention while solving the layout challenges of very different pieces.

Examples of complex table styles in long documents. Table 2-11 runs 34 pages and has automated column heads, footers, and continued notes. This is part of a 250+ page reference guide. This is where you need a very experienced production person. You can’t do projects like this one page at a time with manual formatting.