Working With Design Clients: What Information You Need And How To Get It

Working with design clients: what information you need and how to get it. Click through to read →

Last week  I talked about the 4 stages I cycle through in my design process. I briefly walked you through how I apply it to each phase of a project, but today I want to go into more detail of the phase that I consider to be the most important one: the client discovery / onboarding phase.

To me, this is the most important part of any client project because the information gathered here becomes the foundation for the rest of the project. If I were to miss out on any of the things I outline for you below, I truly believe the branding or design results would be less than par; they just wouldn’t offer a comprehensive version of the individual or company who trusted me to develop an identity or website for them.

How exactly do I get this information?

One of two ways, depending on the client - both super simple and effective. I either ask the questions over a phone call or video chat, or I send a questionnaire for my client to fill out. 

And the more important topic to cover: what exact information am I trying to collect and what questions am I using to gather that information?

I’ve got it all outlined for you below, plus sample questions straight from my questionnaire!


01 | You need logistics. What is your client’s company name? What do they do? How long has the business has been around. Who are your client’s competitors?

02 | You need to know your client’s goals and mission. Does the business have a mission statement? Where does your client see the company in 5 years? 

03 | You need to uncover the brand’s unique story and personality. What are 5 adjectives that describe your client’s company? Is there a story behind the name of the business? What sets your client apart from his/her competitors?

04 | You’ll have to hone in on the target market that your client wants to be in front of. What does that customer do on a daily basis? How do they spend their free time and hard-earned money? What are 5 adjectives that best describe that ideal customer? 

05 | You need to know how your client will interact with that ideal customer. Are they reading a blog post to learn valuable information? Will they see customers in a brick-and-mortar shop? Does your client intend to mail out postcards or send newsletters about special sales or events?

06 | You also need to find out website logistics. What information needs to be on the website and how will it be organized? What would your client consider a successful visit to his/her site? How will they know it’s a success?

Having a client questionnaire that I can use for each new project helps me streamline my process and stay organized. I keep a copy of my client's answers in Google Docs and reference it throughout the entire design process. As I said, this information is the entire foundation of any project I work on.

When you're a designer, you're performing a service for someone else's company. You've got to know their vision, their hopes, their goals, their target customer, so on and so forth. These questions help me through and through - and hopefully they'll be of use to you for your own projects!

Do you use a similar process on your client projects? Are there bits of information you normally like to gather that I didn't cover here? I'd love to hear about it!