Not so fast!

The most common mistake is a designer can make is sitting down and immediately starting to design.
Slow down!
Some preliminary questions a designer must ask him/herself and answer before doing so.

  1. What’s the story of your brand?
  2. Why did you start the company?
  3. What do you solve for your customers?
  4. Who are your ideal customers?
  5. How does your brand make your customers feel?
  6. How would you like them to feel?
  7. In what spaces does your brand exist?
  1. What’s the budget?
5 Likes

The top six questions (in a different form) have always been a part of my prospective client interviews. But number seven is a different story—I have served thousands of customers and have helped them make a truckload of money, but I personally have never heard of this question and none of my customers would know how to answer it.

So, what kind of question is this? How do you expect your customer to answer it or even know what you are talking about? Will the potential customer think you are just trying to act intellectual or trying to "show off?’ Does it relate to media types? Does it mean, what shelf does your product sit on? Are you from a different planet? Etc.

I’ve found that a typical client will stumble over about half of these questions. They’ll try to answer, but it soon becomes apparent that they haven’t thought through these things themselves. That’s OK, though, since it provides an opening to discuss them and demonstrate your expertise in ways that they might not have considered.

These kinds of enlightening and exploratory back-and-forth discussions are hard to do remotely, though. And I agree with @PopsD, it matters how they’re asked and explained.

We trialed questionnaires for clients who wanted logos - it didn’t work. Feedback was it felt like too much work.
Much easier to have an informal meeting and massage the questions into the general chit-chat.

2 Likes

I’ve found with many clients that is the case, but for others, it actually steels the mind and forces them to think about aspects of their business, they perhaps hadn’t given much thought to previously, and spending the time writing down answers can help them with direction. Some of the questions the OP used, I would want that information from. However, I wouldn’t necessarily phrase them the same way. Direct, staccato questions can be confrontational. As you say, you need to get the client in a comfortable frame of mind, so they can wax lyrical about their baby.

Sometimes questions are a pre-cursor to a phone / Zoom / face-to-face meeting. Sometimes the client ends up writing a tome and you get most of the info you need, then any meeting (in whatever form) becomes a simple relationship-building / trust exercise for both parties.

I think it is too complex a subject to reduce it to, ‘Do, A, B and C to find D’. Ultimately you are dealing with the complexities of human nature and you have to judge the approach on a client-by-client basis. In many cases, if I do send any written questions (and that is definitely not always the case) it will come after an initial meeting to judge the client’s approach and personality.

At the end of the day, I don’t think there is ever a one-size-fits-all approach. Takes time and experience – like anything really.

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