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How to brief a graphic designer – guest blog

Over the years of running my own business the briefs I have received have come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging from a few lines on an email through to a 10 page in depth business analysis on what the client is looking for. If the brief I receive is only a few short lines I have to go back to the client with lots of questions as every job or request is different and there are so many variable factors. I want to give the client a design estimate for the work that is as close as possible to what the final outcome will be so they don’t have any cost surprises at the end. To do that I need as much information as possible from them about their business. But how do you brief a graphic designer, how can you ensure you are giving them the right information so that they can help you effectively and what sort of information is important to them?

How to start:

Hopefully prior to contacting a graphic designer you have spoken and discussed your business objectives with a marketing consultant like Nicole and have got a clear idea of what you need to do to move your business forward. Whether this is a re-brand, a re-fresh, guidance on typefaces, colours and graphic shapes or some marketing collateral designs. A marketing consultant can help guide you on what you need to do to push your business to the next level.

Things to consider:

To start the graphic designer will need some basic information;

  1. What is your business name?
  2. Do you have a logo and brand assets that include typefaces, colours and possibly graphic shapes?
  3. Do you have any imagery or do you need the designer to source this for you?
  4. If you do need some imagery, do you have a budget for stock images?
  5. Who are your targeting with this item of design? – It’s a really good idea to work out who your target client is and their avatars, for example, where do they shop, what social media channels they use etc.
  6. What is it you are looking for the designer to quote on, for example, a leaflet, business card design, exhibition banner etc?
  7. What is the call to action from this piece of design… eg. Book a consultation, call, email?
  8. When do you need it by? – Be realistic here, the more time you give someone the better the job. If it is rushed there are more likely to be mistakes.

What is your budget?

This can be a tricky one as most people don’t really know how much professional graphic design can cost. If we do a search online you can get a logo designed for as cheap as £5 but perhaps think about what you are possibly getting for that price. With design you do often get what you pay for. If cost is important to you and is a deciding factor on choosing the right designer then do have a ballpark figure in mind. A good designer won’t rip you off and if they want to work with you they will try and work within your budget, if it is feasible.

Additional information

As well as all of the above information I also like to get my clients to think about the following questions and answers:

  1. What are the core values of your business?
  2. What do you want to be known for?
  3. How do you want your clients to think and feel from this piece of design? – eg intrigued, excited, relaxed, confident?
  4. Who are your main competitors?
  5. Is there a type of client you are not attracting at the moment that you would like to?

Never be afraid of bombarding the designer with lots of information. The more knowledge they have at their disposal the more successful the piece of design will be. If you have a marketing consultant on board then connect the designer and consultant, collaboration is key to communication working and it will also mean you won’t have to repeat yourself to all the parties involved in the project.

This is a guest blog – bio of the author:

Alison Joshi is Founder and Creative Director of JWJ Design, a graphic design agency that specialises in brand and print design for SME’s.

JWJ Design was set up in 2011, Alison was working in Central London for a top 100 marketing agency and wanted to get back to the grass roots of design and really connect with her clients. “The greatest feeling is seeing your client have the confidence to push their business ‘out there’ once they have a strong and consistent brand image.”