Understanding the client – and quickly!

Recently, we were recommended on Linkedin in response to a post from Jonathan Jay, who needed a graphic designer to complete a 12-page brochure design within a very short deadline: 7 working days. We did have some initial concerns about this as there are so many things that can scupper the deadlines for any project (and even more so the shorter the overall timeline gets):

The biggest one is response time from you, the client: We can provide proofs and concepts to specific deadlines, but you need to be realistic on when you can respond with comments and amends. If you are regularly in meetings for several hours per day, or spend lots of time traveling, or have a heavy schedule of work yourself you may not be able to review proofs as quickly as you would like (or hope)

Incomplete information: We don’t need a well-written, detailed brief in order to work on your project, but this does become more important when deadlines are short. If you only have a verbal outline of what you want, a draft copy of the text, and you haven’t considered what sort of imagery you might want then this all makes the design process more complicated, and slower

Technical issues: Are the images you’ve supplied the right size, resolution and overall quality required for the job? Are the logo files proper Vector EPS files, or are they just tiny JPEGs from your website? Conversely, the images may be very good quality and high-resolution, but you may have a slow upload speed on your internet connection meaning it takes a long time to deliver them to us. And there are always unforeseen incidents (both personal and professional) that can impede a project’s progress

Swift, pragmatic decisions: We know that your project is vitally important to you (as it is to us), but this can sometimes lead to a difficulty in being able to ‘step-back’ from the project and make objective decisions. Don’t underestimate the time you need to make decisions over proof options, copy, layout, imagery etc, or the fact that it is perfectly natural to change your mind or ‘go back a step’

With these concerns in mind, we approached Jonathan with some questions and set up a quick call with him. Our 15-minute conversation gave us confidence that Jonathan would be decisive and pragmatic, that he had a clear idea of for an image brief, that he had a final version of his copy (and had applied a sensible word count to each page), and that he would be quick in responding. In return, we demonstrated we were experienced graphic design experts, understood his market and his needs, and that we protected him with our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

And why the short deadline?

Well, in this case, it was because Jonathan had been working with another designer, but it had become clear during the project that they weren’t going to be able to deliver the vision that Jonathan had and certainly not within the project schedule. Therefore he paid their bill and searched for a new designer, but now with a more compressed timeline.

Our research call with Jonathan meant that we were able to deliver stock image choices that precisely met his expectations and concepts and proofs that were all signed off with only minor changes, because they met the brief. All this meant that we were able to deliver a substantial project, on time and on budget, and Jonathan was delighted with the result. So much so that he has already committed to a number of other graphic design projects with Pixooma.

We would always encourage our clients and prospects to plan ahead as much as possible as this gives the greatest chance of hitting the key project milestones, but if you have an urgent project and are concerned about what can be achieved then please contact us. We’ll be able to advise on whether it is feasible, and if it isn’t we can offer some alternative suggestions to help you achieve at least some of your project aims within the deadline.

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