The inventor Charles Kettering is famously quoted as saying:

“a problem well-stated is half-solved.”

The first step in any design project is to define the problem that the design should solve. You want to understand the goals and objectives – the purpose of the intended design. To do this, the designer will need to meet with the client to understand the business and to establish the purpose of the design.

 

Here are questions you should ask:

 

Questions about the client:

  • What is the business; what products or services does the client offer?
  • What are the client’s long-term business goals? (What does the client want to accomplish in 5 to10 years?)
  • What is the purpose of the design project? What does the client hope to achieve with it? (The goals of a specific project are usually narrower than overall long-term business goals, but should fit within the larger picture.)

 

Questions about the audience:

  • Who is the target audience? (demographics, interests)
  • What is the client’s current message to this audience?

 

Questions about the project/poster to be designed:

  • How does this project fit in with existing corporate materials/projects?
  • What corporate brand and guidelines (if any) must be adhered to?
  • Does this piece require more than one format or medium?
  • Are illustration, photography, or any other special services required?
  • What quantity is needed (for print)?
  • What distribution method will be used (for print)?
  • What is the current Social Networking position?
  • What is the budget?
  • What is the deadline?
  • Who are the stakeholders, i.e. who will approve the project? Will that person be available for sign-off when required?
  • What are the performance criteria that will be used to evaluate whether the project goals are met?

 

Good planning at the beginning can make a project run smoothly and without surprises. Don’t assume anything; both the designer and the client should listen closely to each other and ask questions. Keep in regular communication, document discussions, and ensure that you have written confirmation of decisions.