39 Questions You Should Ask Yourself and Your Designer

Selecting a design firm for your next creative project can be a challenge. It is important to spend some time in this stage of this process as you and your chosen supplier will be spending a fair bit of time together spending a lot of creative energy, so you will want to spend it wisely!

If you skip or short-change this part, you may wind up with a design firm that does not understand your business completely and may not be a good fit into your organisation. It is important for you and the potential design business to know as much about the project and your business as possible before beginning any new project. In this way, clear expectations are set for the creative team and it helps clarify what you want to have as an outcome from the project.

This list of 39 questions has been adapted from an article written by Laura Spencer to provide you a check list of issues and areas to cover during the initial discussions with a prospective creative agency. They represent questions you can ask yourself to help give a clearer brief to the agency, and questions you should consider asking the agency in your discussion. You may not need to use the entire list. Most good design businesses will ask you these questions in the initial discovery meeting.

Background Questions

Company Questions
  1. What kind of business is your company in?
  2. How long has your company been in business?
  3. What is the size of your company?
  4. What is the company's reputation?
  5. What is your typical customer like?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. What is the best way to contact you?
Questions for the design business
  1. How long has your company been in business?
  2. What is the company's reputation?
  3. What is the best way to contact you?

Work Philosophy Questions

Company Questions
  1. What is most important to you, quality or speed?
  2. How often do you want updates on the project's progress?
Design Business Questions
  1. What is the estimated time that you allow for this project?
  2. Do you have some form of quality control on the work you do?

Project Specific Questions

Company Questions
  1. What is the purpose of this project?
  2. What sort of background do you expect a freelancer working on this project to have?
  3. How technical is this project?
  4. How you envision the finished project?
  5. How many (words/pages/screens) are needed?
  6. What are the specific project instructions?
  7. Do your customers have any special requirements or needs to be met by this project?
  8. Do you have an example of what you have in mind that you can show the design business?
  9. Who will be the contact for this project and how available are they to answer questions during the course of the project?
Design Business Questions
  1. What is your process in dealing with a project like this?
  2. What is and what isn't included in this project?
  3. Do you have any examples you can show me of a similar project you have completed?

Work Agreement Questions

Company Questions
  1. What is the budget for this project?
  2. What is the deadline for this project?
Design Business Questions
  1. What are your payment terms?
  2. How can we send payments to you?
  3. What can we expect at each stage of the project?

Follow Up Questions

Company Questions
  1. How do you think the project went?
  2. Do you have any suggestions you can make to the design business?
  3. Do you anticipate having any other projects based on this one?
  4. Will this project need to be updated or revised at some point?
  5. If the project needs updating, do you consider the updating or revisions to be a separate project?
  6. Are there any other projects that the design business can do for you?
  7. Would you be willing to give a testimonial on the work on the designer's web page? (If you are pleased.)
Design Business Questions
  1. What are your ongoing fees for any future work or amendments to his project?

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