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What To Ask Your Designer Before You Start A Project

You have this wonderful idea for a social media marketing campaign, a rebranding project or an advertising campaign. And you are in need of good designs made by a great designer. There are so many freelancers, agencies and unlimited graphic design services out there. You can hire anyone you wish.

But how do you know which designer is the right one? How do you know who to work with to achieve your dream for your campaign? The only way you can answer these questions is by asking more questions.

Confused? Allow me to rephrase that. You have to ask the right questions to get rid of all your doubts. Here’s a few suggestions.

  • What Is Your Budget And Time Frame?

First things first. Time and money. I guess that’s two things. But you cannot disregard these two points. There’s a limited amount of money you are willing and able to spend on a design. And there’s a time frame you have planned according to. Contact your designer and explain to them your expectations. Find out what they would charge, and how much time they estimate is required for the project. You may need to make compromises here but it’s better to know this upfront.

If you dive headfirst into your design project without asking your designer about these two factors, you might end up with a bad design and having to spend more money to make it better.

  • Ask To See Your Potential Designer’s Portfolio

You hire a designer. They do what you ask of them. But the design is not what you imagined it would be. At this point, quite a bit of time has probably passed and it’s too late to check your designer’s profile in detail. Before you get started you’ve got to ask this question. And what’s more, ask to see more examples of their work, that they haven’t included in their portfolio, which would be relevant to your current project. They may or may not have additional examples, but it’s always worth asking to see how much experience they have in the area that you require them to design in.

Choose a few examples and ask them to walk you through the process of each project. By seeing their work and hearing their design process, you’ll get an idea of what styles they tend to follow. 

  • Ask Them How They Approach A New Project   

A good designer is a problem solver. Whether your problem is to make your public image friendlier or meeting a sales quota through new creatives, your designer should have the answers. And their approach to each problem should differ depending on the expected outcome.

Give them a scenario. See what types of questions they ask you to understand the scope of your project. Assess if their approach to your problem or the goal you want to achieve is clear and effective. If it is, they check another box off this list. Things are looking good. Wouldn’t you say?

  • Ask Your Designer To Describe Your Brand

Brands, even ones that provide similar products or services, differ from each other as much as people do. Your designer needs to have a deep understanding of your brand. Once you contact them and tell them about your brand, see if they understand the image you are trying to promote. You and your designer should be on the same page when it comes to this.

Bonus points if they’ve done a bit of research and are able to share information you haven’t mentioned.

  • Ask Them To Describe Your Target Audience      

Designers often work with clients from different industries and are aware of a variety of customer segments and how to appeal to them. The question here is, do they know your customers? What are the parameters of your audience? Are they social media users? Are the old folk who don’t have a social media presence. Do they belong to a particular demographic? Make sure your designer knows answers to these questions. They should be able to garner some of these details by taking a look at your website and social accounts.

  • Ask Your Designer About Your Competitors      

This question goes hand in hand with brand understanding. Is your designer aware of the type of branding and design that is dominant in your industry? We are living in a highly competitive world. You have to become better than your competitor and you have to do it fast. To help you with this, it’s super helpful if your designer has knowledge of your industry. Just knowing your brand won’t necessarily cut it. They have to know your competitor too.

  • Ask Them About How They Collaborate    

Your designer has to work with you and/or collaborate with other team members from your office. Ask your designer if they are comfortable with collaborating and how they handle feedback. You don’t want to be dealing with internal friction when you are trying to show the world how good your brand is.

Good communication plays a large part in this. Ask your designer how they’ve dealt with team dynamics and balanced competing priorities in the past. Consider getting references from their previous clients. It could save you a lot of time in the long run.

  • Ask Your Designer If They Can Handle Conflicts      

This is where you gauge the designer’s professionalism. How do they respond to a collision of ideas from your end to theirs? Will they defend their design to the bitter end? Are they flexible and willing to let you in on the designing fun?

Even if you have zero design experience, there might be a rough gem within your ideas for the design. See if the designer is willing to take the time to cut and polish the idea into a jewel worthy of display.

  • Ask Them About Their Strengths As A Designer   

It might seem like a vague question. But it allows you to see who you are working with. There are certain traits that make it clear you’re working with a good designer. See if they demonstrate any of these or claim to possess any of them when they’re describing past projects. You’ll get insight into a designer’s priorities and motivations through the answer they give to this particular question.

Pro designers tend to elaborate more on this topic than rookies. Because they’ve had plenty of time and experience to figure out their capabilities and potential.

Asking these questions will provide the insight you need into the workflow of your designer. Of course, they can’t know about every brand in existence.  And if you are a startup company, they might not have much knowledge of your product/service or your competitors and target audience. In these cases, be sure to provide them with all the information you can and then ask questions to assess how well they’ve grasped everything.