Resplendence, a blog from Radiant Resolution about graphic design

Questions To Ask Your Designer During A Free Consult

During a consult with a designer, the designer will be asking questions about your business and project scope. They may ask for demographics, budget, or where you see your business in a decade from now. But it's important for you to ask just as many questions to determine if this is the right designer for your project.

Here are a few questions that can help to determine if a designer is going to work well with you and your project scope, within your budget.

What is your creative process?

A decent designer can jump right in and start designing. Great designers begin by trying to understand the problem they’re being asked to solve by their client. Depending on the project, they might interview customers, look at solutions to similar design problems, and do their research on the company and competitors. They should also allow for at least one round of feedback before submitting final designs. You may also ask where they find their inspiration.

What is your typical turnaround?

Understanding how fast a designer works is not just for scheduling purposes. If your designer answers anything less than a week for turnaround on a project, they may not be putting in the research and preliminary work necessary to make a truly professional product. Be sure to ask about rush fees and what is considered a "rush" project, as well as turnaround time needed for revisions. Many clients forget about the revision process, which can be extensive and time-consuming.

What formats will you be sending me?

It's important to understand not only what original working files you'll receive, but what programs your designer is working with. For instance, you should receive original working vector graphics for logos in Illustrator, layered files for Photoshop, and complete packaged files and fonts for publications or ads. This question can determine what level of designer you are working with, and also what rights to the work you will have.

What printer do you use?

Many designers use outside printing services, so it's important to know who that vendor is. Feel free to ask to see past work from the printer, and ask if there have ever been any problems with their work or turnaround requests. Don't forget if shipping is needed, ask about costs and turnaround, as well as discounted prices on large quantities.

How do you prefer feedback?

Remember, no design goes without feedback after an initial proof, so you'll be required to communicate any concerns with your designer. Some designers take feedback very personally, so it's important to establish ahead of time how the designer prefers to hear it. Personally, I prefer feedback written, so I can refer back to it if there is a problem or miscommunication leading to further edits, but many designers prefer to hear it in person. For larger publications, some prefer edits using PDF Markup. Make sure you understand the revision process and the tools the designer prefers.

What maintenance fees are included in your estimate?

Once your project is over, you don't want your designer to disappear into the abyss. You'll need to refer to your designer for future changes or more work, so you'll want to know if they offer ongoing support services. Determine how long you have their services after the completion of a project (if at all), and determine what their rate for ongoing services is.

These are just a few important things you'll need to discuss with your designer before agreeing to start a project. Don't get stuck with a designer that's not right for your company when it's too late to look back!

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments what you feel is important to go over before beginning a job! And don't forget we offer free consults for your next project! Contact us today.

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About Brittany Klein

Brittany Klein is a freelance graphic designer from Maryland. She established her company, Radiant Resolution, in 2008 after receiving her Master of Arts degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art & Design. She has since written blogs, e-books, and articles centered around graphic design and fine art for many organizations across the country.

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