As creatives we expected to come up with new and fresh ideas for our clients. We find ourselves relying on designs that have either influenced us in the past or design we have seen currently that someone has already thought of.
We sometimes face road blocks when it comes to developing new ideas, so we look to others to inspire us. The key word here is ‘Inspiration’ and not ‘Duplication’, which can sometimes be a struggle when dealing with clients or trying to come up with new ideas.
The best way to approach this situation is to ask yourself. What makes you different from all the other creatives out there?
So how can you ensure you provide your client a design solution they are after?
By Communication and Clarity; by asking the client what inspires them, you get a better understanding on what solutions you can provide them but that’s where the buck stops. You use inspiration to ensure you can provide an evolution for new creative outcome that is more suitable to your clients’ need. Always remember that what might work for one client might not work for the next, there will always be adjustments.
When creating for clients, they trust that you are providing them with something original and suited to their business needs. Keep in mind that the they are going to make this public. The Liability falls on them, but the reputation falls on you. The last thing you need while you’re trying to grow your business is to have a reputation as a cowboy designer.
Cowboy Designer – Someone who cuts corners and steals ideas as their own.
If you are running short of ideas or encounter some creative road blocks, here are some things you can do:
- Create a mood board of inspiration or ideas that you like, see what you can do to improve it, breakdown, tear it apart and rebuild it.
- Go to a creative events, for example: art galleries or festivals
- Read books written by creative people
- Research top designers, blog sites or websites
- Join forums like Behance or Dribbble and create works, seek opinion and critiques.
This will not only help you improve your skill set, but can help spark new creative ideas.
There are plenty of ways for you to be creative and provide your client best design that is suited to their business needs. You just need to go out and research and ensure you are delivering the best creative work you can.
HOW MANY TIMES HAS THE CLIENT GIVEN YOU A BRIEF BACK WHICH RESEMBLES A BLANK SLATE?
Let me know if you heard this one; ‘I don’t know what I want’, Or my personal favourite ‘You have free reign to do what you want’. Then you go out, put in the time and work to produce your masterpiece for it to be criticised because it didn’t quite ‘hit the mark’.
Well…here is where a great brief comes in. If you can provide your client a brief that will help answer all your relevant and also irrelevant questions, then you will have no issues in hitting that mark the first time around, leaving room for refinement.
Here is how you do it:
1. KNOW YOUR CLIENT.
- Research your client look them up if they already exist.
- Email them or even better, meet them, have a coffee and a chat to get to know them.
2. WRITE DOWN ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK THE CLIENT.
- Be Outrageous
- Be Creative
- Be Challenging.
3. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. DON’T JUST INCLUDE COMMON QUESTIONS.
- What emotion are they selling?
- What animal do they see themselves as?
- Is there a company they idealise?
The list can go on and can be as out there as you want it to be. It’s these questions that will assisting you in understanding your client
4. MAKE IT EASY.
When you submit your brief to the client, make it easy for them to fill in.
- Have open and closed questions.
A Closed example would be: Would you like this font? Yes or No
An Open example is: How does this font make you feel?
- Give the client some choices
To help narrow the process down you can provide the client with some choices to choose from, this will allow you to identify their likes and dislikes.
- Provide Examples
There are two things you can do here. You can provide examples for the client to choose from or sometimes have the client provide examples of what they like, perhaps a website, logo, colour scheme or font.
Lastly, make sure you communicate your findings and brief results with the client. Doing this will ensure you and the client not only share the same vision but will also help you clarify anything you were unsure of.
Please feel free to use these tips as a guide, to help you in creating your own client briefs.
Remember, all clients are different, so this is where researching skill comes into play.
One bonus tip for the road
CREATE A TEMPLATE.
Put the common questions in the front for example, Name, Business Size, Requirements, Demographic etc. and the add the open and close questions after, so that it can be customised according to your client
GREAT DESIGN IS ONLY AS GREAT AS THE BRIEF IT CAME FROM.