MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFew new designers appreciate how important design briefs are. It usually takes a few years and a couple frustrating and seemingly directionless projects to realize how effective briefs are in giving a designer good direction, and saving designers from numerous redrafts.

Even once you realize how importance a design brief is, many designers have trouble integrating them into their practice. How do you get that type of information out of a client? What do I ask?

That last question is probably the most notable. Asking the right questions can give you all the information you need to make a great finished product, but you have to know what to ask. In Claire Roper’s opinion, it only takes ten questions to make a great design brief.

Of course, even if you followed Claire’s rule, you’ll find yourself asking way more than that. For example, if you ask your client, “what do you want to achieve with the design,” there is no way for a client to respond that won’t solicit at least five follow up questions from a good designer.

The goal of a good design brief is to collect as much information as possible from your client to know what they want out of a project, and that involves asking questions you might not otherwise consider. You want to learn everything about the company you are representing, their history, and how they do work, but you also want to learn exactly what they like.

Asking a client to show you designs they like may seem like the first step to plagiarism  but its far from it. As a designer, your tastes are likely different from your client, and you need to know what each client likes. Asking them to show you what they like and dislike will give you a better idea of what you are trying to create and what to stay away from.

While you can start out with ten questions to ask clients, don’t stop there. Ask questions until you feel confident you understand the desires of your client and their business as a whole. These ten questions will get you going, but if your client isn’t bothered by answering twenty-one question, you should ask as many as you need.

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