Five questions to ask your client before you begin to design

Listen First; Design Second

How to start a design project well

Listen First, Design Second

Every time I begin a new project, my creativity tries to run ahead of my common sense. I think one of the biggest struggles for young designers (and older ones too) is the PLANNING process of great design. When I hear the initial request for proposal, what I HEAR isn’t necessarily what the client is asking. I’ve learned to ask questions to discover the best solution for the client. Here are five questions you should ask as a designer before you begin any design.

1. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Every request is based on a need. Discovering what that need is will yield a better design solution. Do they need a marketing piece for a single event or a brand redesign for their entire product line?

2. What are the goals you wish to accomplish with this project?
Every client has different expectations – make sure you clearly understand what they expect and address each one specifically. Are they expecting to reach new clients or sell more to their existing client base?

3. What type of budget do you have planned for this project?
Obviously a $500 budget is different from a $5000 budget. Knowing this information up front is critical to deciding which direction you will choose to use for the project.

4. Who is your target audience?
The more details the better. If you have a Facebook page use Insights to identify who is most often on your page. If you have a website use Google Analytics to identify the details of your target audience, including age, gender, location, etc. Having this information will allow your designer to create a piece that will reach your market the best using the best advertising medium for your audience.

5. Give some examples of your taste in color and design styles.
Asking for examples has always helped me to understand the client better. Interpreting what a client means when they say they like “red” can be much easier when showing them a Pantone book of color swatches.

Once a client has answered these questions it is always much easier to design successfully. What questions do you ask before you design?


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About Becky Bayne

Becky is an independent graphic designer with over 20 years of experience. She and her husband live outside of Nashville, TN where she enjoys creative photography, gardening, and baking for her family.

One Comment

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