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What is a Design Comp?

By Ari - November 26, 2012

The language that comes out of a graphic designer’s mouth can be confusing at times and the word “comp”, one of the most important things to understand when dealing with a designer, often gets thrown around without a client fully understanding its meaning.

“Comp” is the shortening of the phrase “comprehensive.”

During the design process a project may go through many changes. A design comp is the last part of the designing phase and is the closest draft to the final product. Comps are used by designers for a variety of media. They can provide a visualization of a commercial before it is professionally shot, display the components of a print advertisement, or give tangibility to an unlaunched website.The level of completion between the design comp compared to the final outcome can vary. There is usually a small amount of refinement needed to bring the comp to finalization. Typically, the comp will already display the final layout with respect to where images and text will go. The colors and type may already be set 

Design comp example
Design comps are blueprints of the website in creation that will provide easy ways for the client to approve design.

according to the creative specifications of the client. Many comps will include the final images and copy, but those may also be altered or added before production or release.

Comps and the Design Process

Many graphic designers consider this the most important part of the entire process. The web design comp is often presented to decision makers before the project can move on to the production steps. During the comp step, the client is able to view the design as it nears completion. This ensures that the client is happy with the visual execution of the project before time and money are spent to produce it. However, if the client is unhappy with the comp, designers will head back to work to make the required changes. After the adjustments are made, the new comp will be presented. After the client approves the design comp, it can be used as a blue print to create what will ultimately be the released design.

A design comp prevents designers from wasting effort on an idea the client may not like. It also saves the client time and money spent on changes that can easily be fixed ahead of time. The comp helps both parties by decreasing the possibility of disastrous miscommunication. Consider a comp as a checkpoint to ensure that a job is on the right track to getting done properly.

web design comp example
At drumBEAT Marketing we provide multiple design comps to our clients as we build their web pages. This comp focuses on the layout of a website in progress.

At drumBEAT Marketing, we provide multiple comps throughout the design process. Our comp approval page lets our clients easily request changes to the current design or approve the design to move on to the next step.

A design comp from an early stage in design may only deal with the layout of the page. This example design comp is a draft of where menus, sliders, and photos will go. As the project moves forward, the design comps will look more completed. Colors will be chosen, fonts selected, and photographs placed. Our clients are always an integral part of the design process and are able to oversee the continuing development of their websites.

Learn about the design services we provide at drumBEAT Marketing.

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