coffee and notepad

If you work in or deal with a graphic design business you’ll understand the potential to lose time, (and therefore money) because of miscommunications, revisions, and work-flow interruptions. We have found that one of the most effective ways to combat this potential time drain is through the development of a formal system with detailed process evaluations. Not only will this type of development increase the effectiveness of meetings, it can streamline the whole process, including when you have to liaise with other project teams or suppliers.

We broke the graphic design process down into five procedures that can be analyzed and streamlined.

  1. Initial Meeting and the Creative Brief
  2. Research and Gather Information
  3. The Creative Phase
  4. Project Presentation
  5. Final Version

Generally, after the final version is presented, there will be follow-up and monitoring procedures that include tracking the job through web developing or printing until the completed project is presented to the client.

Initial Meeting and Brief

Of course, you need to have good communication skills to have a successful relationship. However, your client will not always be able to convey exactly what they want or they may explain it in a way that is not clear. This is where a written brief comes in handy.

The initial meeting is a key way to foster a relationship and build rapport, and a forum to ensure that your client’s needs are thoroughly understood and defined. Though your client may want a contemporary design, your idea of what that means may be quite different to theirs. This type of misunderstanding can lead to additional follow up meetings or even worse, numerous rounds of revisions to fully satisfy the client, each leading to lost time, and money.

In an effort to make the initial meeting as productive as possible we have created a one page questionnaire that helps define the needs of the client. The questionnaire can be sent to the client prior to the initial meeting, or filled out during a phone appointment, or even online (our online form is here). It is designed to identify the project requirements, such as specification, target audience demographics, competitors, influences, etc., and to establish the foundation of the terms and conditions of the project, as well as serving as a reference point for both parties should the direction of the project be questioned. Before beginning the project, this completed questionnaire should be approved by the client.

During the meeting, additional notes or comments can be taken and then added to the questionnaire. After the meeting, the questionnaire is used to complete the terms and conditions, of which a copy is sent to the client along with a detailed quote. Once accepted by the client, the next phase, research and information gathering, is set to begin.

Next time – Part 2 Research and Information Gathering. If you have any feedback or comments, please post them below. Thanks