Client Tools

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.