Anxious about briefing a designer? Don’t be! Any designer worth their salt will want to help you project the right image, communicate successfully with your customers and get your message across clearly, so will help you write the brief. I use a questionnaire, and I like to meet my clients face-to-face to find out more about them and their business before I write a scope of work.
There are a lot of things you can do to make life easier for both of you and ensure you get the result you want. Here are a few ideas:
Think about who your target market is. A design aimed at women of a certain age will not attract young males, and vice versa. Don’t say ‘everyone’ – there will never be a design that appeals to all.
Tell your designer as much as you can about your business, and let her know who your competitors are so she can check out what they are doing – you’ll want to differentiate yourself from them
Think about the type of image you’d like to portray: cool, calm and collected or bright, vibrant and outgoing? Sophisticated and professional or reliable and friendly? Colour and typefaces can be used to create mood.
Let your designer know if there are any colours you love or hate – but be prepared to back down on this. She will have some knowledge of colour psychology. It’s important to get your branding to look right for its genre and target market.
Each font has its own personality and evokes different moods, and your designer will know which fonts will suit your subject matter. I sometimes show my clients the following picture to explain the basics of typography.
What kind of visual style do you think would be suitable for your business branding? Modern or traditional? Simple or complex? Techie or new-age? Clean and bright or subtle or dark?
What is your budget? Good design is worth paying for, but it can be disheartening to discuss a brief that you later find you cannot afford. Make sure you ask for a quote and agree terms in advance.
Good design takes time and collaboration to get right. Don’t expect a designer who you have never worked with before to produce a miracle result overnight! It can happen – but it probably won’t. Good designers can be booked up in advance by regular clients, so planning ahead is advisable.
Once you have discussed all this and more, you and your designer should between you be able to write a brief and a schedule. This may seem like a lot of work, but if you want your designer to really ‘get’ you, it’s well worth the effort. It’s important to trust your designer. A good designer will have trained professionally – usually at degree level and will have the skill and experience to interpret your brief and provide a solution that both looks good and does the job it should. Giving them freedom within the constraints of the brief will result in a design to be proud of, and ultimately more sales for you.
If you’d like to find out more about how to choose and brief a graphic designer, saving yourself time, stress and money, download my free e-book, and for design tips, London life, industry comment and observations, sign up to receive my bi-monthly newsletter.
Annette leads a virtual team at Annette Peppis & Associates, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.