One of the things when you’re starting out in a design career is how to collect design requirements from a potential client. Granted it seems easy enough to sit with them and write down everything they say but you’ll get back to your desk and feel yourself staring at your notes without a clue of what the job entailed.
There are a few valid reasons as to why you need to collect designer/job requirements in an effective manner.
A client meeting is the time for you to impress, and one way of impressing a client is to show a complete understanding of what they require. You can do this in various way or simply by listening and asking pertinent questions that you get clear answers back for. If you sound like you know what you’re doing then the trust built in that one meeting, might be enough for you to win the job all together.
All of our clients have their own expectations, whether it comes down to design or function. If we can ask all the questions we need, at least then we’ll have the information to work from. It doesn’t matter if we as professionals know better, at least we can discuss their points with them. We can ask for favorite color schemes, we can inquire about ‘look and feel’ aesthetics that they like. All of this information can help in setting up a mood board.
Collecting detailed requirements of a job enable you to quote more effectively as you will have all of the information to plan out time and resources that will be required to complete the project. It is important to quote correctly for both you and your prospective client. Clients certainly don’t want to be surprised by an over compensated quote, after all you’d like to take on the work you’re quoting for and you want to make sure you quote exactly for what is entailed within the job requirements. Not quoting correctly will mean that you’ll be doing a lot of work for little reward.
Various designers use a different means to collect requirements. Below are a few hand-picked designers showing how they collect information.
Sam Brown (Massive Blue)
Sam Brown uses an online form on a contact page for prospective clients to input a minimal amount of information including a potential client budget. This helps to narrow down and possibly ween out any unwanted clientele.
Sarah Parmenter (YouKnowWho)
Sarah goes in to a lot of detail asking a list of specific questions to potential clients. These are all initial questions as Sarah also provides a website worksheet for you to download, fill in a upload back to Sarah.
Andy Clarke (Stuff and Nonsense)
Andy Clarke goes for a smaller amount of questions with the addition of a ‘Work requisition sheet’ which can be downloaded, filled in and sent back. Andy adds a project budget drop down on to the contact form with general budget guidelines.
David Pache (Helvetic Brands)
David Pache’s primary work is branding, and the rules certainly don’t change for the way requirements are collected. David’s primary way of collecting the design/job requirements are via his website using an online form. The form is quite extensive but asks all of the relevant questions that will aid in writing the correct quote.
If you don’t have an online form on your website you can use services such as Wufoo.com and Icebrrg.com, online form creators where you can build your own form. They have various memberships that allow different various additional perks like being able to upload documents etc.
Of course you can do the same as some of the above by using downloadable word documents, every business will need a different worksheet depending on the work you deliver however I’ve put together a rough outlined document which is free to download and use. All you need to do is add in your own questions, company name and contact details.
Is there anything you would add in or change? Let me know in the comments below as I’d like to update this from everyone’s feedback.
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The logo design project was completed as part of a full branding project. Lakeland Mortgage Centre is a long established mortgage company based in Cumbria, United Kingdom. One of the Lakeland Mortgage Centre partners recently retired and the company transferred to the remaining partner. I was asked to create the company a professional and memorable logo, which both fitted in with an already existing brand and suited the age and professionalism of the company.
Lakeland Mortgage Centre had no previous brand, their stationery was produced by a print company and the name was simply typed in blue. I was given free reign to develop something new. With some guidelines and wishes from the client I started the process;
Knowing full well that mortgage companies are usually associated with houses for obvious reasons I wanted to move completed away from that association. I looked in to creating a typographical logo, however this wouldn’t necessarily have changed what Lakeland Mortgage Centre had in the first place. I was asked by the now owner of Lakeland Mortgage Company to not use a locational connection with the company as they now have clients across the entirety of the United Kingdom.
As you can see from the photos above there were a few variations of the logo floating around however I didn’t feel like the initial thoughts were hitting the right spot. I looked in to some research on the company owners surname and found the coat of arms (shield).
The reason that I decided to link the two was down to the emotional connection between the company and the client, the partner who now had full control had been with the company for a considerable amount of years.
Sometimes the most subtle things have a lot of meaning. I went in to this process knowing that it would be very straight forward, however I wanted to add something to it to give it that little bit extra.
As soon as the client noticed the blue icon, it was recognised as part of the family crest. Client signed off. Excellent.
A really good client who left the options open for the design. Sometimes the most subtle of touches go a long way.
The logo design project was completed as part of a full branding project. Stratega Group Ltd is a new financial company based in the United Kingdom dealing with large clients in various financial fields.
With no previous brand, I was given free reign to develop something new. With some guidelines and wishes from the client I started the process;
I presented ideas based on the meanings of the core subjects and in this case Stratega, Strategies, Strategy expanding into Achieving, Tactics, Goals and Planning.
The core meaning of a strategy is;
To achieve an action through use of tactical dynamic planning and skill.
The ideas were expanded and I looked at how strategies are enabled specifically looking at battle strategies and more so the most prominent and effective strategies or formations in recent and past history.
This led me on to thinking about the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu and his conception of the “3 Pronged Attack” where a centre force would go straight for the enemy and the left and right forces would move left and right to flank the enemy force and crush them in their centre disabling the enemy in one fell swoop.
The visualisation in my sketches show how financial planning and strategies can achieve goals, i.e. cutting costs or expenditure.
During the design phase I considered various colors;
For the initial designs I chose “Bree Bold” which I wasn’t particularly happy with..
I had been sketching various versions of the three prongs and had to progress from my initial drawings as it looked slightly wrong, something I was obviously keen to stay away from.
The client was perfect every step of the way, providing feedback when needed. Some of the feedback on the ideas above came back like this;
Reminded us of opening sequence of Dad’s Army
The other logos gave us the impression that the word had almost been miss spelt, if you see what I mean, through the highlighting and the arrows on the “E”.
The feedback requested that I also look in to the Power option. I wanted to steer away from the ‘Money’ side of things as it would be far to tacky and ‘normal’ for my liking.
So I spun the whole strategy and power on it’s head. The most powerful formation within an armed force, especially in a cavalry troop is the Wedge or ‘Flying V’ as it is sometimes called, this formation can pierce the hardest infantry line and is extremely powerful.
I mixed the flying V into a few different version and came up with No.3 (purple background), the individual triangles are broken down to represent the units within the ‘Wedge’, the three separate ‘Wedges’ on top of each other represent the 3 pronged attack and powers in numbers. It’s all just an abstract view which works very well together. I changed the typeface, moved it away from “Bree” which it was originally to “Often” and believe it suites very well.
Options 1 and 2 were brought out of doing No.3.
The client chose Option 3, which was my preferred choice.
The Stratega Group Ltd branding process was an awesome job to work on, the clients were an absolute dream to work with.
The logo design project was completed as part of a full branding and web project. Aspire Clinical Hypnotherapy is the trading name for Judi Butler, a clinical hypnotherapy from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
From setting up in business, Judi had originally ran her business under the name ‘Gosforth Hypnotherapy’ which restricted growth and defined her to a certain area within Newcastle.
As part of the project we went through a name generation phase to accompany the new logo and stationery. Like Photographers, Hypnotherapists tend to use their name for their businesses whilst this is perfectly fine Judi wanted something different but in keeping with the work she does. Four name ideas were presented to Judi;
Judi chose Aspire after a little thought as this best suited her business.
Judi had never used a logo as part of her business, she requested that the new logo to be clean, clear and tasteful.
I presented two logo options.
Logo Option 1
Using just the word ‘aspire’ in lowercase to produce a calmer and fresher approach to the logo. The the two bands crossing were to emphasise a hope of getting from where you are now to where you want to be, an accomplishment of sorts.
The typeface used was Y2K Neophyte.
Logo option 2 uses the full company name. The icon is an abstract view on looking down a long road. The perspective shows you at a starting point on a journey to where you want to be. The soft gradient produces depth and a clear indication of length.
The typeface used was ITC Slimbach Regular.
I had a ‘favourite’ right from the sketch and brainstorming session. Logo Option 2 worked for me the best. Judi chose option 2 straight away and asked for a few changes to be made. Below is the finally logo.
The stationery is still being finalised and will be posted up later.
Judi was an absolute joy to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed myself working on the project. Your thoughts are welcome on this project.