One of the biggest challenges designers run into is being able to successfully gather the information and details necessary to make their clients’ design projects a success. Most designers will send you a questionnaire and ask for required materials before beginning work on your project. Often though, clients will quickly skip through this introduction in an effort to get started sooner. 99% of the time it’s because they don’t realize the value of that first step.
Your designer needs to have a thorough understanding about who you are and what makes your business, services and/or products unique. Describe your target audience, your long term goals, your competitors and what specifically sets you apart from your competitors. Your designer should be able to make decisions based on an accurate understanding of your project and your business.
Be open and honest about your budget early on. Many clients are afraid to volunteer this information for fear of being taken advantage of. In reality it will improve the design process and assure that the client’s is staying within budget and that their needs are being met. Even if you’re sure that a designer is out of your price range, you may be able to work together to find an alternative solution to meet your needs.
3. The full scope of the project
Provide a complete list or description of everything needed, including project specifications. Your designer should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them from the moment a project begins. They are often scheduling other client projects around your project. This will remove the potential for unexpected bumps along the way caused by miscommunication, inaccurate quotes and rushed or missed deadlines.
Make sure you’re familiar with your project timeline and allow enough wiggle room so that if your project changes course or if you encounter some unexpected changes, your designer is able to make your deadline. Be respectful of your designer’s time, making sure that they are aware of any tight turnarounds before the project kicks off. Even if you don’t have a set deadline, choose a date so that your project stays on track and so that your designer doesn’t lose creative momentum. We’ve all encountered those projects that seem to go on forever.
5. Details with examples
A the very least, you should have a rough idea about your design preferences. This shold include specific imagery, existing brand colors, font styles and/or artistic, photo or illustrative references. Using adjectives to describe the look and feel that you’re after is really beneficial too. There are so many ways in which a design can be executed, but likely only a handful of ways in which you will be satisfied. Providing your designer with enough information to make educated decisions based on your style preferences will save both time and money.
6. Required images, fonts, files and credits
If you have a project that requires the use of specific images, be sure to provide your designer with high quality images and/or vector files. If any of the images are copyrighted, let your designer know so they can be properly credited. If you have a significant amount of text that needs to be used, send your designer the text document. If you request a certain font be used, you will need to provide this to your designer. Many fonts need to be licensed before you are able to use them commercially.
Regardless if you’ve worked with a designer before, this simple checklist will help you to make sure that you are providing your designer with everything they need so they can successfully provide you with what you need.