We're the only company with full time designers on staff, and amongst other things they do like photography and copy they make all our edged designs.
Starting with a BS session, we decide what direction to take based on requests/demand and the entertainment industry- basically what is hot or will be. (OK sometimes we just make what we want because we can, but that's the minority). Once we come up with a short list a blade is technically drawn out to scale and the hilt is hand made in wood & resin. When satisfied, the initial prototype goes to our factory to become real.
Experts hand forge the blade per our specs and make the hilt from the desired materials- wood, leather, steel, brass, what ever is appropriate to capture the design. It is then sent to us for review and testing. This is where we tweak the design and/or approve it for production. The process up to this point can take weeks to months. Overall each sword made has been worked on for 3-4 months before you see it in our catalog.
A long hard process that's fun, but also expensive and trying, but you're worth it.
I'll be on vacation (we get those every now and then) this week, but will be back with more fun next week. Enjoy the time off.