Is this the most important question a designer can ask a client?

We like to take a more conscientious and methodical approach when talking to a client about their design requirements. Today we’re sharing what we consider to be THE key question to ask when speaking to a new client for the first time:

What are your goals?

This is (in our humble opinion) on of the most important questions a designer can ask in the early stages of any design project – for both print and digital. It’s all about learning the business/person, their mission, their personality and help develop a deeper understanding of what they expect from you and your creations.


To do well at this stage you need to listen, take notes and try not to tell the client what they need to do but listen to their needs and use those as the foundation for whatever design direction you agree upon. We always offer advice to help steer a brief if feasibility ever becomes an issue (the 3 big ones for us are cramming too many messages on packaging/POS, being too copy heavy and over complicating a concept – all of which can lead to form over function and an incoherent message).

When working on a branding project – once you’ve ascertained the businesses’ core values, USPs and ethical stance you can create a brand that will enhance and define the driving work ethic of the business, giving it a coherent personality that both fits the profile and attracts key demographic.

Briefs should never be brief…

Once the above has been discussed at length you can then move on to a checklist of essentials you’ll need to address before starting any project:

  • Project goals
  • Target market
  • Budget
  • Deadline

and, if applicable:

  • Brand guidelines (including design assets such as key imagery, logos and fonts)

The above is a gross generalisation and most certainly will not apply to all projects, however we feel it’s fundamentally good practice to have a pre-determined process ready to build upon throughout the briefing. With that being said, if you feel we’ve missed anything or if you have a different method you’d like to share with us let us know (either in the comments or email [email protected]) – we learn new things in this industry on a weekly, if not daily basis.

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