Though I do my best to anticipate client needs, problems occasionally arise when clients haven’t fully considered what their design needs actually are. It’s easy to say, “I need an infographic,” or, “We want an updated logo,” but it’s much harder to dissect the who, what, when, where, how, and why of a creative project.
Graphic Designers are trained to glean as much information as we can from interactions with our clients, but a reciprocal relationship in which the designer and the client are open and honest always results in the best work.
Here are some common questions you should be able to answer before discussing a new project with a graphic designer:
- Who is the intended audience? If a design is meant for at-risk children, a graphic designer will tackle it in a completely different way than one meant for middle-aged doctors. Be specific.
- What are we making? This will help clarify sizing and formatting, as well as the overall design process. Logo design projects follow a different trajectory than web design projects.
- When do you need it? Be sure to factor in printing time (usually a few days) or other outside influences (stakeholder review, marketing budgets, team availability, approvals).
- Where will it be distributed or viewed? This doesn’t come up as often as some of the other questions, but it’s good to know where a design will live to ensure it looks good within that space.
- How do you want it to look? Showing a designer a visual example of what you want is the best way to avoid confusion. Do you have examples of designs that you like or a theme you would like to aspire/ladder up to? This gives the designer a better idea of how to make you happy.
- Why are we making this? Knowing “why” is important, and sometimes designers might be able to offer a solution you haven’t thought of or didn’t know existed.What goals is this design helping you achieve?
Try to avoid using a design term if you don’t 100 percent know what it actually means. Never be embarrassed to ask for clarification about design language you’re not familiar with. This can help you feel like an active participant in the design process. The more you engage and ask questions, the better.