How's my design questionnaire?

Hi all,

I design private labels for a winery and I’ve been sending out a questionnaire to help get the initial design parameters- look, feel, imagery, etc. that clients want. Would anyone be willing to run through the survey and let me know if it seems helpful from a client and designer perspective? Are there any questions that should be added or changed to get the best feedback? I always follow up with a call or email, but this survey is designed to get the big picture stuff out of the way. Thanks in advance for your help!

Maybe I’m an odd duck, but completing the survey feels a bit like homework to me.

I prefer to work through these things either on the phone, via Zoom or in person, just because people responding to these questions, peolple will say the first thing off their head, which sometimes isn’t really what the mean or doesn’t surface the real issue they’re trying to tackle.

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Right. Brief-building forms and surveys always seem like a good idea “on paper,” but it can also mean the client is put “on the spot” versus having an opportunity to think/talk it through.

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If I’m not mistaken, your survey seems to be the initial contact with prospective clients or customers.

The form comes across as a way to place a custom factory order to fill. If your business model depends more on a bespoke approach to each label, this initial contact form might send the wrong message — a bit like filling out a form for a mail-order suit from China rather than being measured and consulting with a trusted tailor.

You mention following up with emails, where I’m assuming you will discuss what you obtained through the form. From your perspective, this initial approach helps with efficiency. From a customer perspective, it might seem more like ordering a pizza than receiving individualized design help.

I’m wondering if it might be better to first establish a more personalized rapport with a client before hitting them up with a list of pizza toppings from which to choose.

For example, the initial contact form might be much shorter, with only basic information. Then you could follow up with a quick introduction, some explanations, and answers to basic questions. Maybe that’s the time to send them to the form with the mutual understanding that you’re collecting initial information for discussion as part of your bespoke, personalized design process.

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Thanks for the feedback! To clarify, other team members network to find prospective clients, so by the time they get this survey they’ve already signed a contract and committed to an order and we’ve already had a brief introduction wherein I explain the purpose of the survey. With this in mind now, do you still think it’s too much like ordering a pizza? Establishing a personalized, professional relationship is definitely important here.

Do you think it might be a good approach to go back through the responses over the phone with the client? For example, I look over their responses in real time and confirm them?

That’s the very thing I was wondering about and why I phrased my comments as I did. If that more personalized contact has already been established, I think the survey is a good idea.

As for some of the questions, though, I have similar concerns to Pluto’s. Some people might breeze right through the questions knowing exactly what’s needed. Others might be puzzled by the questions given that they don’t think in graphic design terms or think of words like “elegant” and “modern” being different from your definitions. Others might think that answering these kinds of questions is what they’re paying you to advise them about.

You asked Pluto this question, but I’ll answer it too. Yes, I think it would be a good idea to explore their answers to these questions over the phone. The questions are great if they set the groundwork for follow-up conversations and get the clients thinking about them before those conversations. For example, the client might avoid choosing “rustic” because it conjures up images of log cabins, bears, beards, and deer hunting, whereas you might have had something a bit more subtle, natural, and organic in mind. A follow-up conversation would let you drill down into these kinds of things.

I would do it with a pen and paper in person or with your typing on the machine, would reframe a lot of your questions to steer you towards a solution focus’ed on the end user and aligned your clients business goals rather than aesthetics which are entirely subjective.

Like @Just-B mentioned, your clients are coming to you for a bespoke service and you want to make them feel like they are really listened to and understood, rather than your’re an order taker in a factory model. And I know this is something that designers traditionally shy away from because it means going outside our comfort zones, however this is the begining of a journey to a new you.

But just to be clear: I’d do this after you’ve already talked about budget and gotten a deposit and you know the job is real.

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