Production Design Work

What is a Production Designer, or Production Artist?

When a company has an agency do a re-branding for them, they likely have legacy documents that need updating to the new brand. Rebranding is a balance between adhering to the brand identity guide (if there is one) and allowing the brand to flex as needed.

It takes a nuanced understanding of the mood and message of the new brand identity in order to apply it in ways the agency has not done yet. It’s not just copying the agency work: it’s applying it sensitively to new work without stepping too far outside the limits.

These examples may not look exciting, but adhering to brand standards is not about being wildly creative. It’s about understanding the brand identity in order to continue the original designer’s vision in each new piece.


Production work also includes laying out publications designed by others and making choices that stay within the intention of the design. Producing 200-page books consistently requires detailed knowledge of style sheets, master pages, and automation techniques to ensure rapid and precise page layout. I’ve worked on hundreds of books over the years.

It’s more cost-effective and efficient to hire an experienced Production Designer to rebrand an archive of documents (the content of which is still accurate and relevant) than to pay the very busy agency artists to slog through a mound of white papers and sell sheets.

It’s not exciting work for most 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 have worked on a similar project… 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.

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.