What Design Questions Should I Ask my Client?

“It’s not what you want, but what you need.”

While growing up, I’m sure that you’ve heard your parents explain to you the difference between wanting something and actually needing something. It’s an idea that most of us usually frown upon because it has us walking away from something we may have intended to enjoy, but in all actuality, it’s helped you stay on track to a better outcome. Because of this, the statement above is a great staple within business matters. Whether it’s business to business or business to client, you should be using this statement to make sure that the decisions being made will bring not just yours, but also your clients goals, to reality.

When business Owners approach me regarding design questions they should be asking their clients, I remind them that it’s not about what they like (want) but what they’re hoping to achieve (need) from their project. Of course your client may like the color orange or the Nike logo and its simplicity, but does it communicate the same message their business is trying to display?  What about that brochure they’re inquiring to create, is it displaying useful information and a clear message? In most cases, it’s not. Ask your client why they’re looking to create the piece they’ve contacted you for. Is it to gain awareness? Is it to inform and educate new or existing customers? Is it to improve revenue for their business? These answers will help you understand what direction the project should be going and also help you guide your client in making the correct decisions based on the information they share.

With every project there’s a problem trying to be solved and a goal to be achieved. Use your expertise to guide your client to what would help them move forward. Almost every client I meet knows how they would like something to look, but very few stay on track with its purpose. It’s not just your designer’s job to create something amazing, but also to be the guide for keeping both parties on track of the goals (needs). It’s easy to get off track, so be mindful that it’s not all about the look, but the function of the piece. Great design is only great if it serves its purpose successfully.

In conclusion, be personable with your client as if their business is your business so that together you can understand the needs that are important to focus on for not just that specific project, but for future ones down the road too. Once you have a clear picture of their mission, you can have fun asking questions and recommending appropriate colors, fonts and other fun graphic related pieces to produce a successful projecy!

AboutJessica Sheneman

Jessica Sheneman joined the Proforma Creative Services Team as the Senior Graphic Designer in April 2017. Her primary role is working one-on-one with Owners to create visually appealing designs to help them build a successful relationship with their clients. She also works on internal projects such as Proforma’s Connections Newsletter, the Annual Wall Calendar, Essentials and more. Jessica graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Marti College with an Associate's Degree of Applied Business in Graphic Design. Outside of work she loves to spend time with family, go for hikes, read, craft and attend hockey games.

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