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20 Questions Your Design Clients Should Be Asking YouChoosing a graphic designer can seem like a scary task for some design clients. Some are approaching you with a clear vision of what they want, hoping you can deliver on their vision. While others are contacting you because they don't have any idea of what they want. Regardless of why they're reaching out to you, the graphic designer, they need to make sure that you're not only someone with design skills but someone they can trust with the reputation of their company.
They only way they can gain that trust is by getting to know you. And to do that, they ask questions. And if you're not prepared for those questions it can mean the difference between getting the job or getting a “don't call us, we'll call you” answer at the end of your conversation.
Here are some questions you can expect.
1. Will you tell me a bit about yourself?
This is probably the first question they will ask. Be precise and short in your answer. Sell yourself without bragging. If you've done any work for big name companies or people now's a good time to mention them. If at any time the client looks lost, wrap up your answer. You don't want to scare them away.
2. How long have you been in business?
Easy answer, mention how long you've been a graphic designer.
3. Do you have an office or are you home based?
I get asked this one a lot because of my mailbox at the UPS Store. Be honest, Mention that working at home let's you keep your costs down and pass that on to your clients. Offer to go meet them at their location if you can.
4. How many people work with you?
Best answer is that you have a number of people you can call upon for various tasks involving a design project but you don't have any employees, another way you keep the cost down.
5. What is your specialty?
If you have one mention it. Hint, if you do websites, mention that you're a graphic designer not a computer coder. Your job is to make the site look good not the code. This has helped me land many website jobs over the years.
6. Have you worked on this kind of design project before?
Again, be honest. If you haven't but have done something similar mention it. If not, tell them that you've always wanted to and you would love the opportunity.
7. How much do you charge?
If you work by the hour feel free to tell them your rate. If you work by the project you can tell them you'll work out a price after discussing the job with them.
8. Can you give me a ball park figure.
If you do, be broad and make sure you tell them that you can be more precise once you know the scope of the work.
9. How long will the job take.
In my experience, estimate longer and see what they say. If you can get it done sooner it will make you look good. If it takes longer than you thought they won't know.
10. What do you need from me?
This is where you ask for things like their files, Pantone colours, previously used photos. As well as their commitment to following your schedule for proof returns etc.
11. Who will work on my project?
Assure your design clients that you will work on their project but you may need to use the help of other, more experienced people for the parts you don't excel at. Such as copywriting, photography, illustration etc.
12. What is included in my completed project?
This is where you negotiate with your design client about rights to use your final design, layered PS files, etc.
13. What if I'm not happy with the design.
This is a tough one. Sometimes a client just can't be pleased. Make sure you have something in your contract stating the terms should one party of the other walk away.
14. What services do you offer after the project is done?
Here you discuss website maintenance, SEO services etc. for websites, and other design related projects for print designs and logos you create
15. Do you have any references?
You should have a list of previous design clients you've already asked permission of, should your new design client ask for references.
16. What happens if you go out of business?
It's a scary thought to design clients. Assure them that should something happen to you, all files, images, etc. pertaining to their design project will be turned over to them. Give them piece of mind.
17. Can you send me samples?
Send them previous samples that you don't already have displayed on your website. Curate them to match the kind of design project you are bidding on.
18. Can I see a sample of your idea for my job before I sign the contract?
NO! They can decide by viewing your portfolio and samples if you are right for their job. Don't do any work for free.
19. Why should I hire you?
This one is up to you. I wish I could give you the perfect answer to tell your design client, but at this point they've probably already decided if they're going to hire you or not. Use this question to put a bow and make yourself irresistible to them.
As you can see I only have 19 questions. I made a mistake when numbering and somehow skipped the number 13. This is what happens when you don't have your work proofread carefully.
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This week's resources are whatthefont.com (part of myfonts.com)& Identifont.com. I use both these resources any time I need to figure out what a particular font is. Whatthefont.com allows you to upload and image of the font in question and uses it to guess what font it is. Identifont.com lets you Search by name, similarity, picture or designer/publisher or my favourite, by appearance where it asks you a bunch of questions about the font to narrow down the possibilities. Check them out.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org