What Freelance Designers Need to Ask their Clients Before They Start Working on a Project
Before getting started on any kind of design work, it is very important that you understand the full scope of the project and the needs of the client. This is true for any type of work, but as a freelance designer, you need to make sure that you're on the same page as the client to avoid unnecessary revisions and to ensure that the project is completed successfully. Asking questions will also help you in negotiating with the client on payment, and both of you will be satisfied at the end.
Even if you don't have much experience in freelance designing, asking the right questions will help the client open up and be able to tell you what he/she needs. It will play an important part in helping you deal with different clients.
No matter the size of the job, you want to make sure that your client is 100% satisfied with your work, and not only will asking the right questions help you to understand your client's needs, but it will also build rapport and respect.
This can be beneficial for securing future work from the client, hence helping you earn more as a freelance designer.
Your "onboarding" process (the process of bringing a new customer "on board" with your business) is the series of interactions between you and the potential client leading up to the project start date. This is when you should be asking questions relating to the project. Alex Lysak, a US designer, takes us through the graphic design questions for clients you should be asking.
Freelance Designer Opening Questions
These questions are aimed at finding out the early intentions of the client and filtering out any potentially bad clients. This is your opportunity to interview your client and find out if you are capable of delivering the work they want. It’s also a chance for you to find out whether they’re a suitable client for you and whether you’re going to work well with them.
What Type of Project Do do You Need to Complete?
If you're a freelance designer, you might offer a range of different services such as 3D designing, logo design, website design, brochure creation, and much more.
This question helps to narrow down the idea behind the project, and you can also follow it up with "what's the inspiration behind this project?" and "what do you hope to achieve?" This will hopefully give help the client provide a clearer picture of what he/she wants and allow you to see the entire project from the perspective of the client.
What's Your Budget for This Project?
This question can often cause a lot of anxiety with freelancers who are a little nervous about discussing pricing. It's always a bit daunting as you don't want to scare off a potential client, but it's necessary to find out how much your client can spend before you commit too much thought to any project.
Also, if you are a beginner and don’t know the average salary of a freelance designer, it’s important to do your research and know the average salary you can charge.
A client should always have a budget in mind when hiring a freelance designer, and if they don't, it shows that they're unprepared and could be a problem to work with.
In some cases, an American client will want to know a price before committing to a particular freelancer, in which case, you can tell them a certain price range that you normally charge when completing projects of a similar scale.
You should aim to be as comfortable as possible when talking about pricing, and be prepared to set a price that you won't ever back down from. You'll also want to know how they're willing to make payment, including whether they pay by cryptocurrency, which was recently investigated by Scanteam.
Knowing how to discuss pricing with your potential clients will really play an important role in helping you earn more as a freelance designer.
When Do You Need This Project Completed?
It's extremely important for any freelancer to complete their projects on time for their graphic design clients. All clients will likely have a deadline in mind for when they hope the project will be completed. However, some will be much more flexible with the deadline than others.
This question allows you to get a clear answer from the client and also allows you to set a definite deadline that you can both agree on. It will also allow you to consult your calendar to see if you are available to avoid wasting time discussing projects you can't complete.
What Does Your Company Do?
While this question may not be important for every client you come across, it’s a good way of getting to know who you’re working for. As a freelance designer, this question actually serves two different purposes. First, it gives you more information about the client and what they need to project for.
Not only that, but it also allows you to screen clients that you might not want to work for. Some designers don’t like working with people in certain industries, either for moral reasons or simply because they don’t like that kind of work. This question helps you work out if you and the client are going to be a good fit.
Freelance Designer Scope Questions
Once you have the initial questions out of the way and understand what kind of project they’re expecting, the next step is finding out the scope and details of the project. These questions will help you learn more about the client's expectations and exactly what kind of work you’ll be doing for them.
What Goals Do You Hope to Achieve with This Project/What Are Your Expectations?
A client will normally have a goal in mind when they're looking for a designer. This might be to improve conversion rates on their website or to help their customers understand their business better. Whatever the kind of project you're going to be working on, it's in your best interest as a USA freelance designer to understand the goals of the client.
By asking this question, you're also proving that you have a business perspective, and that will encourage them to value you and whatever pricing you set! Asking about expectations is also important if you want to avoid the dreaded scope creep, where the client adds more demands later on.
Who Is Your Target Customer?
Any design work should always have a customer in mind, and you should aim to find out about your client's target demographics in terms of age, gender, and location. When you design, you should aim to tailor your work to the specific characteristics of the target customer, because customers react to different design elements.
Finding out what American demographic your client is hoping to target will affect your design work and will also allow you to prevent possible revisions. If the client wants a certain element changed, for instance, you can point out that this would go against the expectations of the target customer.
Do You Have Existing Designs or Color Palettes You’d Like to Work With?
While a lot of design work will be done from scratch, some clients may have existing designs or styles that they want you to work from. You might need to adapt a current logo into a new design or use an existing color palette when designing a new banner or logo for a website. It’s important to make sure the client is clear on exactly how they want any existing design to be incorporated, if at all they want to do that.
Practical Freelance Designer Questions
Aside from asking about the nature of the project and learning more about the client’s needs, you’ll also want to consider asking some practical questions. These will include how you communicate, what sort of file you use, and more.
How Do You Prefer to Communicate?
For some clients, being kept in the loop and up to date with any progress is important. For others, less communication is better, provided the task is completed according to specifications. Each client will have their own preferences, which is why it's always a good idea to check how your client prefers to communicate. This question covers the frequency of updates as well as the method of communication.
What File Format Do You Prefer?
There are many file formats used in design work, including rasters and vectors, lossy and lossless, JPEG, JPG and PNG, STL, OBJ, and many more. Depending on your client’s needs and their project goals, you may already have a good idea of which file format will work best for them. However, it’s always good to ask, as they may have a specific requirement for a certain type of file. If they’re unsure, you can use the format that you think will work best based on their specification.
Where is the Design Going to Be Used?
It’s also important that you find out where the design is going to be used. Whether it’s for a business card, t-shirt, website, or something else. The use of the design will affect how you create it, as it will look different in different places and sizes. Complex logos will not look right when printed in smaller formats, such as business cards, but great logos look excellent in all format sizes. The difference in Dots Per Inch, or DPI, is the reason behind this. The density of the printer's "dots" that make up a printed image is measured in DPI. Printers can only fit so much detail into a small space, so you have to be mindful of this when designing.
Knowing the type of questions to ask your client is one of the personal qualities any freelance designer needs to have in order to be successful. You can go through the above questions and apply them in any field that you are working in, and it will really help you enjoy your day-to-day work.
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