a creative project communication Framework

Senior capstone project by Mark Moran

academy for creative media | university of hawai'i west o'ahu


What is it? Discovery is about defining both the parameters for success of the project as well as the paradigm for the brand, message and members of the audience.

The parts of Discovery

Discovery involves everything from the project kickoff to the steps that lead into the visual design phase. Depending on the type of project it can include crafting a brand identity, a primary purpose and message, analyzing users and developing personas, and even rough site maps and user flows.

Discovery Deliverables

The following is a list of deliverables that may be worked on during the discovery phase:

* These steps are often done concurrently during and after an initial discovery workshop.

Modes of Communication

Communication across the framework has been broken into 3 primary types and 9 sub-types as follows:

Data Transmission

Discussion and Skill Training

Information Repositories

The Discovery Framework

The design process involves two main processes: the delivery of designs to the client, and feedback on those designs back to the creative. As such, each process has a primary method that works best, as well as additional implementations that assist in keeping the process smooth.

Discovery Requirements

Discovery requires detailed discussions and communication to review abstract concepts and methodologies and sets both the tone and expectations for the client through the life of the project.
Discovery Steps Communication Modes
Set up regular touch-base meeting
Establish web-based portal
In-person / teleconference
Recordings loaded to web portal
Discovery Workshop
In-person / teleconference
Recordings loaded to web portal
Asset Collection
In-person / teleconference training
Web-based portal with video walkthroughs
Discovery Submissions
Email with Web-based portal system
Discovery Feedback
In-person / teleconference w/ email follow up

Note that in-person meetings and teleconferences are interchangeable, based on project needs.

The results of research

Given the importance of the Discovery phase in setting a client’s initial expectations as well as providing a comprehensive scope of their responsibilities, this framework is heavily front-loaded with this first phase. Most of the early work is designed to properly set client expectations and provide opportunities for them to ramp-up as the project moves forward. This is also necessary to ensure that systems are in place as the project progresses, with each phase increasingly dependent on the successful implementation of a foundational communication methodology with the client.

Given the emphasis by clients and creatives on frequency of communication as an important element for project success, it is necessary to set up a consistently scheduled touch-base meeting between the creative and client. The scope of the meeting and the time it takes is relatively less significant than keeping to a consistent schedule and allowing the client to feel that they are always aware of the current status of the project.

During this phase it is also important to encourage a habit for the client to check your web-based portal (or other central repository of project information). A central client portal provides better customer collaboration, saves time, money, and improves productivity but it does require consistent reminders for the client to adapt to this potentially new way of checking a project’s status.

In various phases of a design project it may also be necessary to receive content, assets, or information from the client, and so it becomes a requirement to provide a stable and easy-to-use platform for the client to send these to the creative. This system can be a part of the web-based portal, or linked from the portal, but training of this system should be done in-person, via teleconference, or with a video walkthrough. It is a good practice to record all meetings and training sessions, whether video or audio, within the web-based portal, as one of the responses to the client survey expressed a concern that certain methods of communication are “too limited to create full understanding.”

The Framework In action

This section will provide specific examples of how teach part of the discovery phase can be conducted with the modes of communication specified in the table above.

Educating the Client


Why is it best to use Email as the primary mode of communication with client onboarding? And What are the roles of the secondary modes, web-based portal and video walkthroughs?

The Discovery Workshop

Kickoff + Brand Identity + Purpose and Mission + User Analysis and Persona

Describe this part of the discovery process and why these modes of communication are best used here.

Building Structure

User Flows + Site Maps

Talk about how user flows and site maps are deliverables, whereas the others, while deliverables, are based more heavily on the discovery workshop. But the user flows and site maps are derived from those previous discussions and are more visual.

A Creative Media Case Study

This section will talk about the ACM website project and how it demonstrates the discovery process in action.

Case Study Background

The background on the case study and specifically how it was approached during the spring 2020 semester with a “before” and “after” communication methodological approach.

The Discovery Process

Talk about the elements of the discovery process that are relevant to this case study.

Client Survey Results

Share the results of the survey for the ACM website client and how they demonstrate the framework for this discovery phase.