1. NEED TO KNOW BASIS
As a designer, hearing the words “you’re the experts” can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s fantastic that a client has faith and trust in your ability, but that’s not a reason to bypass the all-important ‘getting to know you’ phase. That process can sometimes take a little time – but ultimately, it’s time well spent for everyone and can mean time and money saved.
The onus for this process falls to both the graphic designer and the client. At the same time, a client should be willing and able to provide a detailed insight into context, challenges and preferences. Any designer worth their salt should also have the skills to probe further to leave no stone unturned.
2. SO WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SKIP THIS ESSENTIAL STAGE?
At best, you could end up with something that looks great but achieves nothing. At worst, you could create confusion undo previous successes and potentially even damage your brand. If that’s not worth a detailed conversation upfront, we don’t know what is.
First, a graphic designer needs to understand why there is a need for a particular piece of design. Have you seen a decline in sales, do you have a new product or service to launch? Way before a designer should be putting ‘pen to paper’ (or mouse to mac). The designer needs to have a solid grasp of the context for a project. Understanding where the longer-term vision and goals lay. This ‘bigger picture’ insight is an essential foundation, and in our experience, it fuels the creative process and allows for more imaginative thinking.
3. IS YOUR PROJECT PART OF A WIDER CAMPAIGN?
If so, the graphic designer will need to know what’s going on beforehand, what’s going to run next and what’s going to come after that. Not only is this critical in terms of providing an insight into established branding and visual styles. It also helps us understand what stage in the buying process your customer may currently be at. Thus how this particular piece of creative should perform.
4. WHO IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?
The more clearly you can define your target market, the more a graphic designer can tailor their work. There is a well-known saying that ‘you can’t be all things to all people’ and this is undoubtedly true in the case of design. If you have evidence to support why previous campaigns have (or haven’t) worked well with your target market, that information is incredibly valuable.
5. WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?
The design should be designed to incite a response, produce a specific reaction or promote a particular action. Without understanding what answer you’d want, or what you think ‘success’ looks like, how can your graphic designer hit the nail on the head? If you calculate success based on an increase in sales revenue. But your designer is building on growing brand awareness or social interaction. You may not be entirely happy with the outcome.
6. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
In some instances, there may well be obstacles or challenges that your business faces. Your designer will need to bear in mind during the creative process. These may be linked to the competitive environment, factors on the broader market or could even something specifically relating to your business. Be they small or significant – we need to know about them.
7. WHAT ARE THE KEY MESSAGES/SELLING POINTS?
All businesses have something that sets them apart from their competition. But not everyone is excellent at identifying or summarising what that is. You must understand your key messages and selling points. This is so your graphic designer understands them too and can clearly (and concisely) convey them in your creative.
8. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Do you have a ballpark budget in mind? If, so your graphic designer needs to know. This isn’t so that we can go away and start planning our next shopping trip. It’s so that we understand the full scope and feasibility of what you’re asking. This way, we can come up with viable suggestions that will deliver against both your brief and your budget. Take a look at the steps we use.