Kicking Things Off
When we partner with clients, the first step is always a kickoff meeting to discuss the scope of work and the brand’s past, present, and future goals. Whether it be a logo, a website, or a full-service project with several deliverables, we always make sure to enter these meetings prepared to listen and ask questions that develop a deep understanding of the project and our partner.
We start with a more casual conversation about the project to give everyone on the team a baseline understanding of the client and their business. This phase naturally segues into the client’s “Brand Landscape.” The brand landscape is an overarching questionnaire we give to every client for every project. Ideally, we will have their fully completed brand landscape in hand before we begin our kickoff. This way, not only will the client feel comfortable and prepared to discuss their answers and current inspirations, but we will also be able to create mood boards and conduct research that let us share our interpretations of their examples and guide the conversation.
Early on, we unpack and discuss:
- Brand Personality & Tone
- Brand Aesthetic & Visuals
- Target Audience & Market Analysis
- Design Inspiration & Examples
Once we have discussed and asked questions about these integral areas of focus, we move on to the inspiration and research we’ve gathered. We present the client with three distinct visual directions. These mood boards always consist of imagery found from various sources, never designs made by Proof. We do this so that clients do not have to worry about sharing honest thoughts about any example they see.
DIVING IN DEEPER
Then, the time has come for our design team to dig into the thoughts and responses of the client. The following questions and talking points are essential before we put pen to paper on any design project:
- For any design or piece of inspiration that the client reacts to positively, we stop them and ask why it is that they like it. Doing this tends to make people dive deeper into why they noticed a specific design. The inverse of this is also true. It is just as important to understand why the client dislikes certain elements. Knowing what directions are off the table will save us time moving forward.
- When it comes to logos, the mood boards that a client resonates with help us narrow down directions. Here we ask questions like, what kind of logo resonates with you? Do you want more of a traditional logo lockup with a graphic representation of your business? Or do you lean more into something more typographical? While we try to provide a wide gamut of options in our first logo presentation, we need to know what our client is resonating with initially.The same is true for websites. These questions will help us define the aesthetics and functionality of the website design.
- If the client has an existing brand, another integral piece of information we will need to know is if anything from their current brand is sacred. Sacred elements could include colors, taglines or slogans, and typography. Knowing what we have authority over is an important consideration to keep in mind when moving into the design phase.
- The discussion surrounding color and typography has some educational information integrated into it. We need to be able to inform the client of the difference between things like serif and sans serif typography so that we can ask about their preference. The same goes for color. If we can briefly explain some of the rationale behind color psychology and its deeper meaning in terms of branding, then the client will make more informed decisions.
Overall, we understand the importance of the questions we ask when collaborating with our clients. The answers we gather ultimately lead us down the best possible path for the project.