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  • Heyy,

    How are you ? I am an aspiring graphics designer in my early twenties. I have my passion in this field and work in it. I want to grow and learn from you guys. i always have difficulty understanding what the clients need and I want to improve my understanding of those needs.

  • #2
    Hi Minazee and welcome to GDF.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by MinaZee View Post
      How are you ? I am an aspiring graphics designer in my early twenties. I have my passion in this field and work in it. I want to grow and learn from you guys. i always have difficulty understanding what the clients need and I want to improve my understanding of those needs.
      Those of us who work directly with clients all have the same problem.

      So just a little personal insight from my several decades doing this stuff: clients usually want something different from what they actually need.

      I could cite a million examples, but here's one from just two days ago. A long-term client calls up saying they need a poster to advertise an event they're having in two weeks. Well, experience tells me that a poster isn't really want they need. Instead, they need a strategy that will increase attendance at their event and do so with the short timeframe of two weeks.

      So instead of just coming right out and telling them a poster wouldn't work, I asked them some questions to let them discover it for themselves, then explored some more practical solutions once they were ready to hear them. I told them it would take several days to create the poster, then several more days to get the printing done. I asked them where they intended to place the posters, and if those places had agreed to hang their posters. I shared with them some opinions on whether or not their target audience could reasonably be expected to see and read those posters.

      Once the whole poster thing started to look unrealistic to them, they were open to suggestions. It turned out they had a good list of attendee email addresses from last year's event, so we suggested designing an HTML email to send to those people. It turned out they had a pretty good social media presence, so we suggested designing some targeted Facebook ads for them.

      Like I mentioned, I could cite a million examples, but they all mostly tend to revolve around clients telling us what they want instead of telling us what the problem might be so that we can solve it for them. Just one more quick, hypothetical example: The client says, "We need a new name and logotype for our product that isn't selling." We back up a bit and ask why the product isn't selling. Then we do a little research and find out that their tan-colored products just fade into the background on store shelves when positioned next to their bright orange competitors. So we head back to the client, and say, we think the product name and logotype are fine and have brand recognition, but the packaging needs to change to better compete for shoppers' attention.

      The trick in understanding what clients need is putting yourself in their situation, then looking at the real problem instead of the problem they presented you with. As often as not, the real problem lies a couple of steps back, and the solution to that problem often bears little resemblance to what they thought they needed. The difficult part comes in convincing clients that the idea they came in with might not be the best-suited solution to what they're actually trying to accomplish. Like I mentioned, it's often a matter of not confronting them directly, and instead, exploring the issue with them in a way that enables them to connect the dots and arrive at the conclusion on their own (with a little prompting). Once they're to that point, you can start working with them to tackle the actual problem in a way that gets the results they're really after.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by B View Post

        Those of us who work directly with clients all have the same problem.

        So just a little personal insight from my several decades doing this stuff: clients usually want something different from what they actually need.

        I could cite a million examples, but here's one from just two days ago. A long-term client calls up saying they need a poster to advertise an event they're having in two weeks. Well, experience tells me that a poster isn't really want they need. Instead, they need a strategy that will increase attendance at their event and do so with the short timeframe of two weeks.

        So instead of just coming right out and telling them a poster wouldn't work, I asked them some questions to let them discover it for themselves, then explored some more practical solutions once they were ready to hear them. I told them it would take several days to create the poster, then several more days to get the printing done. I asked them where they intended to place the posters, and if those places had agreed to hang their posters. I shared with them some opinions on whether or not their target audience could reasonably be expected to see and read those posters.

        Once the whole poster thing started to look unrealistic to them, they were open to suggestions. It turned out they had a good list of attendee email addresses from last year's event, so we suggested designing an HTML email to send to those people. It turned out they had a pretty good social media presence, so we suggested designing some targeted Facebook ads for them.

        Like I mentioned, I could cite a million examples, but they all mostly tend to revolve around clients telling us what they want instead of telling us what the problem might be so that we can solve it for them. Just one more quick, hypothetical example: The client says, "We need a new name and logotype for our product that isn't selling." We back up a bit and ask why the product isn't selling. Then we do a little research and find out that their tan-colored products just fade into the background on store shelves when positioned next to their bright orange competitors. So we head back to the client, and say, we think the product name and logotype are fine and have brand recognition, but the packaging needs to change to better compete for shoppers' attention.

        The trick in understanding what clients need is putting yourself in their situation, then looking at the real problem instead of the problem they presented you with. As often as not, the real problem lies a couple of steps back, and the solution to that problem often bears little resemblance to what they thought they needed. The difficult part comes in convincing clients that the idea they came in with might not be the best-suited solution to what they're actually trying to accomplish. Like I mentioned, it's often a matter of not confronting them directly, and instead, exploring the issue with them in a way that enables them to connect the dots and arrive at the conclusion on their own (with a little prompting). Once they're to that point, you can start working with them to tackle the actual problem in a way that gets the results they're really after.

        Lot of thanks for your feedback. I am still learning, and I really appreciate your feedback. )

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