A graphic design project can not start without any brief. And there can be times when you, as a designer, do not have adequate information for your project. A minor communication gap between you and your client can affect your project on a huge scale. So before starting your work, you need to try to get all the important answers so that you can deliver the promised outcome seamlessly.
But not every client or every designer is good with the communication part. Sometimes, you can miss out on some crucial pieces of information, and sometimes your client fails to provide you with essential data needed for the project. So the best way to avoid this possibility is to be prepared with the right questions.
Proper format and direction of questions can really get you all the required answers regardless of communication power. And to help you better with your pre-design essentials, we have listed 14 questions to ask clients before starting a graphic design project. So let’s look into the details.
1. About Their Business:
Discussing the client’s business should be your first step in project conversation. Doing some research and going with prior knowledge can really work in your favor if you want to establish a strong image of yourself.
So, for your design project, you can ask about the client’s business, industry, products, and services. Whatever clients share as their business brief is one of the core elements of your project. With their website and office, you can get a basic idea of how they are branding themselves and what kind of environment they carry. It is an essential subject, so never forget to take this as a beginning question.
2. Needs For This Project:
The next thing you want to find out is the core need of this design project. A graphic design project can be anything a logo, images, or whole branding elements, but there is always a specific need. And it is crucial for you to know to understand better the value, importance, and impact of your project.
It may sound like a stupid question, but you need to confirm the answer as a designer. Purpose can change anytime in an organization, and if that happens, your project may have to change the direction. So before starting a design project, you need to confirm the core purpose of your client.
3. Expectations Of Your Client:
Expectations of your client include his expectations from you as a designer and your work. You can ask what he is expecting from this project and how he wants to see the results. You need to ask what kind of professional terms he follows and if there are any special instructions and rules.
When you are focusing on the expectation part, you must clear the expectations and terms from both the client and designer’s side. By this, you can understand what your client wants from you and this project. You can get some hints of ideas for your design concept as well. So try to get clarity as much as you can for your client’s expectations, goals, and preferences from your first discussion.
4. Must-Have Elements In This Project:
It is an interesting question that can provide you crucial data within minutes. You just need to ask your client to name five to ten elements that his project must consist of. With this question, you get some important insights for your project.
You understand what your project should have and how you can deliver that. When you ask about must elements, your client becomes alert to name those which are extremely important to him. By this, you get a list of elements beforehand that is not supposed to be missed in the project.
5. Their Strength And Weakness:
After doing the project-related questions, you need to take a turn towards the business. When you know your client’s fundamental nature, the next thing you should ask is to describe his business’s strengths and weaknesses. Because it is a vital question, you must note down his answer as well.
Your graphic design project must highlight the business’s strength and cover its weakness in a way that it creates positive results. An intelligent designer is always aware of his client’s strengths and weaknesses to deliver the best design, which can impact business. So make sure you have a deep understanding of this subject.
6. Key Elements Of Their Brand And Business Activities:
The next question is for a better understanding related to your client’s brand and his other business activities. You can ask him to describe what his brand is all about in few single words. It would be best to ask about his business activities, product range, partner companies, etc.
This question may give you all the small and significant detail about your client and his business. And data collection from this question might play some important role in your design. So follow this kind of flow to get deeper analysis and try to keep questions short and precise where you can get straightforward information and clear words.
7. Their Most Successful Branding Style:
It would help if you asked about your client’s marketing stories because there can be so much to learn in those stories. You should ask about their most successful branding style, most unsuccessful design concept, best marketing results, and design decisions.
It is like asking about the history of their marketing and designing style so that you can paint a picture of the future through your work. You can learn from the previous designs and branding results, and after understanding your client’s expectations, you can easily know where to start your project and where you need to take it.
8. Competitors Strength And Weakness:
Competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are as important as your client’s strengths and weaknesses. If you like to take an extra step, you can surely run research for that matter to help your project. But along with your research, it is advisable that you take your client’s opinion. You should ask your client who are his brand’s major competitors according to him and what he thinks about them.
Your client is the main person who can give you more precise answers about his competition. Your client’s competitors, strengths and weaknesses, and past and current status can help you understand the market situation and how you can help your client’s business through your project.
9. Their Customer’s Perception:
Customer perception means the image and relationship they have for the respective brand; when you are having a focused conversation with your client for the design project, you need to give space to some questions regarding their customers. What your client knows about his existing customers, how they see your client’s brand, and what changes your client wants in that regard is a highly important matter for the project.
In the end, your design work would affect the customers directly or indirectly, so you can not skip this part. Ask your client about the relationship between his business and the customers so that you know who your end audience is and what you need to serve them.
10. Their Target Audience:
A design project can have multiple types of audience, and it is not necessary that you have to create a design for a particular category of audience. So before starting your graphic design work, you must get a solid understanding of your target audience. You can ask your client about the target audience’s essential demographic factors, be it about existing customers or new customers.
Target the audience’s age, sex, income, location, education, etc., is vital for your graphic design project. These kinds of answers can give you aid in delivering the best impactful project for the audience and client as well.
11. Use Of The Design:
Towards the end of your discussion, one important question you need to ask related to design is about the application of the design. You are collecting strong data and working hard for the project, but if you are unaware of your design’s end-use, then every effort can turn to dust in no time.
It directly relates to the purpose, and that is why sometimes you tend to forget to ask this question after asking purpose. But it is one of the crucial questions for any type of project. A designer should be aware of the end platform and end medium where his design would take place so that you know how to design accordingly.
12. Ask About The Timeline:
There are some important questions apart from project, business, and customers that you are supposed to ask towards the end of the discussion. And asking about the timeline is one of them. When you get all the required answers to start with the project, you need to ask by when they expect you to deliver it. Time is a very crucial factor, and to deliver the best results, you do require sufficient time.
You must think about every factor from your side before agreeing to the project delivery date. Both parties should make things clear before diving into actual work so that you and your client do not have to face any unpleasant follow-ups and delays.
13. Ask About The Budget:
This is also another crucial question that decides everything. You need to be polite and supportive when you are asking about the budget. If you are discussing it for the first time, then you have to make everything clear without any hesitation. Once you finalize the budget and deliverables, it might be impossible or tough to amend the payment terms.
You have to discuss the market rates, your rates, this project requirement, your efforts and experience, and revision terms and rates in a budget discussion. The budget is one of the baselines that decides the whole project’s outcome, so do not avoid any doubts, suggestions, or terms in the conversation.
14. Their Experience With a Previous Designer:
It is an optional question that you can ask to know your client better. It would be best if you asked about their previous project and designer. What was the project, and how was their experience with the previous designer? These kinds of questions can give you some unexpected hints for your project. You can include How they felt about the results and the reason for not repeating the designer, if any.
To maintain a professional relationship and to deliver the project successfully, can help you a lot. By knowing the previous project and designer experience, you can get an initial idea about your client and his working method, which can help you manage your work and client with ease.
You need to take care of some things while having a direct conversation about the respective project to avoid unnecessary hurdles. When you are discussing all the questions, you must understand the client’s availability and input. Do not confuse your client and stick to the core subject only. And to protect your impression, make sure your conversation does not look like an interrogation.
Sometimes too many questions are not needed, and you can take more than one meeting as well to spill out details. So you have to figure out your client’s nature, project’s depth, and your requirement to decide the necessary questions from the above list. Here we have included all types of questions that can support your graphic design project, but you are in charge of deciding what to ask and what to leave for your own project.