Good graphic designers ask their clients some basic questions about every job. These questions enable designers to assess what is needed, and in turn facilitates their abilities to correctly quote job estimates / prices, shorten the turn-around times, and deliver the jobs on time.
What Does the Client Want?
It may initially seem like the answer to that question is obvious, but it is anything but that. The more information a graphic designer has about a requested project, the better the job will turn out. Information gathering not only turns out a better project; it makes the designer’s job easier.
There are at least five areas that a graphic designer should discuss in detail with their client before any work is begun. The important areas include: budget, turn-around time, completion date expectations, preferred vendors & outside servicers, and project specifications (also referred to as ‘specs’). Ascertaining any essential knowledge leads to good client relations and repeat business.
Budget and Time Issues
- What is the budget for this project?
This is very important! Ask right at the start, because if the client cannot afford the services, then neither party has wasted much time.
- What is the expected turn-around for this project?
This is another important question. If this project conflicts with The GDer’s current scheduling, or the client requires more time than is available, then both parties will benefit by knowing this before committing to a contract.
- When is the latest time at which the project must be completed?
Once again if the client needs a faster turn-around than is possible, then knowing ahead of time will help both parties. On the other hand, if the client does not need the project completed until later, then it can be worked into the scheduling.
- Do you have any preferred outside vendors or supplies for outside services?
Having to deal with third party vendors for billing and time constraints must be taken into account when pricing the job and delivery date. It makes a huge difference, so ask right away.
In addition to the aforementioned items, GDer’s should get answers to the following questions.
- What is the project?
- What is the purpose of the project?
- Who is the target audience for the project?
- Who are your major competitors?
- What specifications, (color scheme, output formats, art-work, quantity), do you need?
- Is there a motif or theme in mind for this project?
- Will you provide photographs, story boards, art work, or other visuals?
- Are you going to provide copy for this project?
If client is providing visuals, then the designer also needs to know:
- What media will be provided?
- What fonts are to be used in the design?
- What programs will be used?
Ascertaining Essential Knowledge Leads to Good Client Relations
While the above questions do not in any way cover all things that may be needed, they do give the designer a starting point. A good graphic designer will learn what their clients require and modify the questions to fit their market.
Encourage clients to ask any questions or to contact the GDer if they have any concerns at all. Communication is just as important as the work done. If details aren’t discussed, it will be impossible to do a good job. Communication helps make solid businesses and repeat customers; it also turns good graphic designers into great ones.