Coffee pens and paper

9 Tips for Meeting With a Graphic Designer

You need help. You’ve got a project or idea, but aren’t sure how to make it happen.

You contact a graphic designer and set up a meeting.

You may be wondering:

Now what?

What should I ask? What to expect? How do I get the most out of this meeting? These 10 helpful tips will guide you toward a successful meeting.

1. How to prep

Reach out to your designer and ask if there are any questions you should think about or find answers to prior to meeting.

Have a clear idea of what you need. If you aren’t sure what you need, think of a list of questions to ask to figure that out. What do you want this project to accomplish? What does success look like?

2. What to bring

It never hurts to have good ol’ pen and paper or a device you store notes in.

Have examples of what you are looking for, or things that inspire you to help explain your vision. A scrap of fabric to show a color you like, a napkin with a drawing—it all helps explain your vision.

Coffee and planner and ipad

3. What to ask

Get to know the designer. “What made you want to get into the field?” “How long have you been doing this?” “What types of projects do you specialize in?” Get below the surface information that is available to anyone online.

Ask some “what if” questions. This will give you an idea of expectations for both the client and designer. “What if one of us misses a deadline?” “What if I have 10 revisions, will I be charged more?” “What if we don’t have the same vision once the project is in progress?”

4. What to expect

Be prepared to be asked about the audience for the project. A designer has to understand who they are designing for, who they are trying to reach, and why.

Expect the designer to ask you general project questions, along with some more technical questions. They are trying to figure out the scope of the project and nail down what your needs are so they can provide you with an accurate proposal.

5. Take notes

Take the time during a meeting to pause and make notes of important questions or ideas. It is much harder to remember two hours or two weeks later than in the moment.

6. Be honest

Ask questions! Tell the designer if you have no clue what the world they are talking about. It is easy to fall victim to technical jargon. Simply say, “I want to make sure I’m understanding correctly. Can you explain that again?”

If you don’t know an answer to a question just say, “I don’t know.” If it is appropriate ask the designer if they have a recommendation for an answer you don’t know. Go ahead, take advantage of their knowledge and experience.

7. Outline the next steps

Before you shake hands and go your separate ways make a plan. Discuss what each person is going to do next.

Is the graphic designer going to put together a proposal?

Are there questions you need to answer for the designer to move forward?

When can you expect to hear back from each other?

8. What to do after the meeting

Write down any questions you forgot to ask and send them to the designer.

If you find yourself saying, “I wish I would have asked _____.” Then ask it.

Take recap notes from your conversation so you can reference them in the future. What did we discuss? Were there action items that need to be addressed?

9. Decide whether the designer is a good fit

Even if the designer’s quote is within your budget, they still might not be the best fit.

Did you feel like the designer listened to you? Do you feel like they understood your brand? Are they someone you could have a good working relationship with? Are they going to take care of you and make your life easier?

The most successful designs come from designer-client relationships where both parties trust and respect each other. This doesn’t mean that you always have to agree, but that you are both working your hardest to accomplish a common goal.

The design process should be fun! You are making ideas come to life visually.

Bonus!

Insider scoop: What is your designer thinking when they meet with you?

It goes both ways—clients want to find a great designer, designers want to find great clients.

It is energizing meeting with someone who is passionate about what they do. They make you want to work even harder for them to help accomplish their goals.

Not to mention, if a client seems like someone who would be pleasant to work with and is organized that might even be reflected in a lower quote.

Share your experience. Have you ever met with a graphic designer—how did it go? Designers—what does a successful client meeting look like to you?

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Dana Gevelinger

Dana Gevelinger

Dana Gevelinger is the owner and designer at Gevelinger Design LLC, a company that helps companies build their brand through strategic graphic design.

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