February 8, 2016

Are You That Client?

Here are some guidelines for anyone who thinks that getting what you want from your designer automatically happens as a matter of course. This might include you if you are...

  • a marketing director seeking a more fluid process
  • an entrepreneur who hasn’t had a lot of hands-on experience with designers
  • a junior marketer new to the position
  • a nonprofit director ready to take your organization to the next level


You may or may not have an idea of what you need in order to accomplish your current goals. Before offering you a solution and an accurate cost estimate, a seasoned designer or design firm will need answers to the following questions. To get the most for your budget, you’ll need to get clear and be ready to communicate about the following four areas:


What are your short and long term goals for this project? For your organization? Do you have a strategic plan you can share?

Specifically, what do you hope to accomplish with this project? Do you have a measurable outcome in mind? What would success look like?

How much would you expect to spend to achieve these results? What is the $$ value of these results? (This dollar figure does not lock you in. It is a starting point for an important conversation.)

What are your initial thoughts about how to get there? (A great place to start is a brain dump/wish list of every tactic you might want to consider.)

Be ready to share your answers with your designer/design team.


Who is your audience for this project? (Prioritize multiple audiences.)

What do you know about them?

Why are they choosing–or not choosing–your product/service/organization?

Who are you competing with for their dollars? (Include direct and indirect competition.)

Who are you competing with for their attention?


What is the status of your brand? (Have you established a brand personality [image/voice/tone] that extends beyond just your logo? Do you have specific brand fonts and colors? Is your entire team on board with the brand?)

What is the status of your website? Does it fully reflect the uniqueness of your brand? Is the functionality based on the behaviors of your audience?


Are there any upcoming events, hard deadlines, or goal deadlines for this project? Would you be willing to take a step backward to achieve your goals?

How are strategic marketing and creative decisions made at your organization? (Are you looking for a lot of collaboration and facilitation? Are you the only decision-maker?) Determine upfront who you’re going to ask opinions of so their feedback can be included in a process timeline.)

What part of the process can you let go of and what do you want to be more highly involved in? (There is no right answer. This differs for every client.)

What are your organization’s in-house capabilities? (Do you have a professional writer, in-house designer, print buyer, webmaster, proofreader, social media expert, etc. on staff?) This could help stretch your budget.

Do you have any advertising contracts that need to be fulfilled?

Do you have an ongoing relationship with a printer? Do you have a mailing list? Do you have an email list?


I know this is a lot to consider. But hopefully, between you and your team, you have the answers to many of these questions in your heads. And if you need help, a good deal of what we do is walk you through this, step by step. CLICK HERE if you’d like help walking through the process or if you’d like us to send this to you as a worksheet.