Get the Specs
Whether you use outside design services a lot or hardly at all, there are things a savvy client can do to save costs, time and trouble. The surest way to get your project off to a good start and to keep it on track is to develop a brief list of “specs” or requirements that everyone can refer to at each stage of the project. It’s not hard to do, especially if you use the simple checklist below as a guide.
Define your company
Just some general information about your company, its services and products, company size, philosophy, brand considerations, your main competitors, etc.
Who is the target audience for this project?
Existing customers? High-tech consumers? College students? The more specific you can be the better.
What are your objectives?
They can be as broad as “inform consumers about our products” or as specific as “get past users of our products to buy an upgrade.”
What is the vehicle?
A self-mailer? Newsletter? Brochure? Web site?
Specifications for finished piece
Include specific definitions for the piece like finished size, folds, colors, how many you want printed, whether it it is a self-mailer or will go in an envelope. If you wanted a Web site designed, you would describe how interactive you wanted it to be. If you don’t know all the answers yet, jot down the ideas you do have.
What is the timeframe?
When, exactly, do you need the finished piece? When does it need to be in the hands of the people it is designed for? Does it need to go to a mailing house or be available by the date of a trade show?
What is the budget for the project?
Although the budget for your project may not have been finalized just yet, even a rough estimate is a helpful guide at this stage.
Who will supervise this project?
Will it be you or someone else? It is very important that one person be designated as the final authority representing your company to the designer. Multiple voices conveying decisions set the stage for confusion, delays and a rough ride for your project.
Do you have all the materials for the piece or do you need the designer to arrange for these materials to be created?
For example, will you supply the written text, photos of your products or other specific artwork you want to be included? Logos should always be provided in a usable format.