Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video The right questions, part of Foundations of Layout and Composition: Marketing Collateral.
We all know that asking the right question yields the right results. I may ask you, who cuts your hair? And you might answer, oh, Joan. Do you want her number? If I ask you, what happened to your hair? It's an entirely different story. There are the basic questions that need answers. What is the quantity? You need to know if the client needs 100 or 100,000. This will impact how the project will print, and what the budget might be. Do you have a printing budget? If there is a pre-existing budget for printing, you can work backwards from that figure.
To determine how many colors, which paper, and any special techniques to use. When do you want this to be received? Received is a key word here. When should the recipient have this in his or her hands? This lets you to determine a schedule, including design, production, printing, and mailing if needed. How will it be distributed? Does that client plan on mailing this through the U.S. Postal Service? If so, this will impact the size and weight of the pieces. If not, is it handed out? Is there existing copy or images? If there is existing copy or imagery that is required, you will need it.
Is it pertinent and timely? Are the images decent quality and the right resolution? Even though these items exist, they may not work for your solution. You need to know this before beginning to design. And there are the less concrete ones. These tend to be more about why, than what. Some of our most important questions are about the audience. But we'll cover these in the next movie. I need to know, why the client wants this group, to receive the information. Is it to promote the brand, a product or a specific event? I want to know what he or she has done in the past to achieve this, and if it's succeeded.
And I need to know if there are any issues, even silly ones, that might come up. For example, I had a client who insisted on fancy printing techniques like foils and engraving on each project. Once I knew this, I padded the schedule on each item as these things take longer to produce. The answers you get may not be exactly clear, but remember you have a deeper understanding of design and production than your client does. In his or her mind, he may imagine that you are printing the 24 page booklet out at home, and binding it at your kitchen table.
Like a doctor, you may ask the right questions, but if someone's gone online and decided that they have dengue fever. There may not be much you can do to dissuade them.
- Deciding on the media for your message
- Defining your target audience
- Setting the budget
- Writing and placing copy
- Choosing paper and printing
- Formatting a brochure
- Designing letterhead, business cards, and envelopes
- Creating posters and media kits
- Designing specialty items like holiday cards