Project planning: Getting started on the right foot

April 12, 2009

Part of being a good designer is having the ability to understand your client’s wants, needs and limitations. It’s very important to gather as much information as possible before jumping into a project. You won’t look very professional if you have to keep calling the client over and over again to get small pieces of information. Through the years I’ve compiled a standard list of questions that I try to get answered in the first meeting, as well as a list of electronic files that I will need. Here are the questions I ask: Company Name Contact Name • Phone number • Mailing address • E-mail address Brief project description • Possible format • Size • Quantity Target audience(s) • Ages • Genders • Habits • Educational level • Techno savvy What do you want them to think or know? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do? What is the primary benefit to the audience? Who is your client’s biggest competition? What makes your client different? What elements must be included on the printed piece? • Logo • Address • Phone number • Legal disclosure • Literature number Are there graphic guidelines to follow? • PMS color • Tagline to include • TM or ® Are there authorized graphic elements that I can have/use? • Photography owned by the client • Royalty-free photography • Logo • Art or illustrations • Print project planning What tone should the piece take? • Formal • Informal • Cutting edge • Fun • Professional What products, features, special or items do you want to focus on? What promotional items are you currently using? • Which have been most successful? Why? • Which have been unsuccessful? What is the deadline? • What is driving it? What is the delivery mode? • By hand • Enclosure • Self-mailer • Nonprofit • First class What is your budget? Getting the answers to the above questions will help you streamline the process. It gets you what you need and helps your client clarify their goals.

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