New clients — particularly those who haven’t worked too much with a graphic designer — often ask me, “So, how does this work? What happens next?” Good question! I decided to write this post to outline how I like to work for those of you who might be thinking of hiring a designer, but aren’t really sure what’s involved. Of course, every designer has their own way of doing things, and each client relationship is different, but this is my process:
So you’re interested in investing in some visual communication work for your business or initiative! That’s great! What I like to do first is a free, no obligation 30-minute consultation. This could be on the phone or in-person or through video chat. For this first connection, it’s important to have a conversation (waaaay more efficient than email for this stage, in my experience) so we can talk through what problems I can solve for your business.
I typically like to find out a bit more about your company or initiative, and what your needs are, so that we can see if I’ll be a good fit. I also like to find out what your budget and timelines are so that I can assess if I’m able to take on the project. It’s ok if you only have a general idea about what you’d like to invest or when you’d like to have it done by, but the more information you can share with me at the outset, the more precise I can make my estimate for the work*.
Now we’re on the same page about what needs to be done, in general. If you’re looking for a new branding project or a re-brand, I’ll send you a questionnaire I’ve developed to find out a bit more about your company, your overall business goals, and target audience, to name a few. This is so I have a deeper understanding of what drives you and what you feel is most important to communicate to your clients, and it will give me some more details about the scope of the visual identity we’re going to create. This is especially important if it’s our first time working together! This document essentially becomes my creative brief. If you have worked with designers in the past and have a creative brief you prefer, we can definitely use that instead.
If we’re working on another type of project (a brochure, for example), I’ll draft a project scope document which is basically an outline of the goals, parameters, timing and budget of the project we talked about in the consultation. You can review this to make sure that I’ve captured everything accurately!
Then, armed with all this information, I’ll create a proposal outlining what we discussed, specifically what I’m going to do for you (the deliverables); the cost estimate; timing for the research, presentations and feedback; and the payment schedule. We can review this over the phone together so that I can answer any questions you may have.
If you’re ready to move forward and have no revisions to the proposal, I’ll send a statement of work or a contract reiterating what we’re embarking on, we both sign it, and I roll up my sleeves and get to work! Depending on the scale and scope of the project, we may have another briefing/exploration meeting before I start designing, but not to worry — all meetings are included in the estimate, so you won’t be surprised by extra charges!
I’ve found that this process makes everything transparent for everyone from the start, so that we can focus on the fun stuff.
*Sometimes I’m asked what it costs to design a logo, or business stationery, or a brochure. I don’t have a strict price list because every project varies in it’s scope and value. I’ve heard it likened to asking, “How much does a car cost?” which is a funny but accurate analogy! It depends on if you want a minivan or a sportscar — different needs, different uses, different budget!