Sunday, April 27, 2008

Answering a question on LinkedIn

In the past few years I've taken a real shine to many of the networking tools available on line.
I use Facebook to keep in touch with my young nieces and nephews and other friends as well. It is mostly for fun.
LinkedIn is another network I really like and while it can be fun too it has some very practical business applications and I learn lots from it too. I especially like the Q&A functionality of LinkedIn as it allows people to gain non-judgemental, unbiased and free perspective from all kinds of people. Thought I'd share a recent question and my answer. I don't know Kazumi but I'll bet Fifth Line does some good work if only because of their willingness to acknowledge none of us have all the answers all of the time.
The question:
Kazumi Terada-Ovalle
Owner, Co-Founder, FIFTH LINE Group LLC - 3D Creative Agency
see all my questions
What are some of the most important, un-missable steps in a design/creative project?
As a design company owner, I am putting together a manual on all the procedures that we must go through from lead generation, prospecting, qualifying, signing, creative process, project delivery, to completion. Over the years, we've had to learn some things the hard way, and we want to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. May be we can all learn from each other. I want to open up a discussion here to see what other design companies have learned (through trial and error / school of hard knocks) on what every project must follow in order to deliver a successful design/creative project. Here are some more questions to stimulate the answers: What questions must we ask the prospects before they become a client? What questions do we ask the creative team? How do you define a 'complete project'? How do you make sure that the client and the creative team is on the same page? The project can be anything graphic design related, such as branding, logo design, advertising creatives, collateral design, motion graphics, etc. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

My answer:
There are only three issues critical to success in our business - one, the brief; two, the brief; three, the brief. In the absence of an agreed and signed brief with the client and the design team we are forever and justifiably vulnerable. Whether working for a not-for-profit or a global retail leader, my experience has been that without establishing the quantitative and qualitative requirements of the project and ensuring that the client has a profound understanding of our role in executing their objectives we will be left forever in the world of creating commercially irrelevant art. So if it is a package design, a corporate rebranding, website creation or logo design...BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. If you never define your destination you'll find that any road can get you there and at the end of the day your contributions will be devalued.

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